Yep, the proofs for my novel!!! (click on the images to make them larger)
I can't begin to tell you how excited I felt when the postman handed me an ever-so-slightly battered package with my publisher's stamp on the front and a lumpy, book-like feel!
I'd already seen a print-out of the front cover (NB: this isn't what the final cover will look like, it's all about the blurb for the proofs!) so that didn't come as a surprise but it was utterly magical to open something that looked like a book, felt like a book and smelled like a book and find my words inside it!
And I was sooooo scared that those words would seem really, really rubbish once they'd jumped from my computer screen into a real, live book but - you know what - they didn't. I flicked through the book (being careful not to bend the spine, Elaine & Caroline!) and read random passages and I just felt SO DAMNED PROUD. Yes there were sentences that I could have improved, yes I spotted the odd adverb and adjective that could have been replaced with a stronger verb, yes I might have skimped on the description every now and then but...I just didn't care!
Of course now I'm utterly convinced that book 2 is utterly rubbish in comparison and I'll never write anything decent again but, if I'm honest, there were times when I doubted book 1 too. I don't now. Now it's the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen.
And I wrote it, one word at a time.
I have to remind myself of that as I plod on with book 2 (which is horribly behind schedule but let's not mention that!). It might look ugly now (and believe me it's a bit of a minger) but, hopefully, one day, it'll be sitting pretty next to book 1.
Yes, I just need to keep telling myself that.