In 2004 I self-published What About the Potency? a homeopathic text book. Having taken two days away from my homeopathic practice to work on it, I continued writing on those two days long after I’d finished that project
Turning my hand at fiction, my novella, The Subtle Art of Healing, about a visual artist who is having an affair with her sister’s husband, was a joy to write. It included an Amisesque cameo role for myself amongst those pages, and much to my complete surprise was long listed for a small prize.
In my naivety, I self published that book too, only to lose most copies in a house fire. Needless to say, it didn’t sell very well, but that book was to take me to the next step of my writing journey. When I sent it to a friend of mine who owns an online bookshop, sshe sent me back a long critique detailing everything she thought was wrong with the book, saying that I probably will never speak to her again for her honesty, and closing the letter with, ‘but I read it in one sitting and couldn’t put it down. I suggest you do a Masters in Creative Writing to learn how to edit yourself.’
I took my friend at her word. Was accepted to study at Birkbeck on a course that changed the way I viewed my writing life forever. No more folded pages shoved into drawers only to end up in a box in the attic. I was now taking my writing seriously and my friend and I are still on speaking terms. I owe her a lot.