What an odd week.
I read The Pirate's Revenge, hot off the press, and although I've read it a million times since I finished writing it, it has had a strange effect.
There are a couple of flabby sentences in the first half that I wish were better, and the feeling is a little like looking back in time to a moment when I was just making it up as I went along and hoping the writing would work. Of course it's a very different set of words to those I originally wrote, and I've edited it several times since then.
But I read it now and realise how much there is still to learn and know, how much more disciplined I've grown over the last year with all the editing and writing - so different in fiction than in journalism. I'm so hard on myself and others when I edit the magazine, and I have to learn all over again how to be my own harshest critic in fiction.
But perhaps other critics will be more harsh - we'll see in a few weeks when it hits the shops and the media.
It's paying off in my work on an old manuscript this week, as I pore over it word by word, and realise how much more there is to do and how much time one paragraph can and should take.
And also, I realise now that I've always believed my life would change irrevocably once I'd written a novel and somebody had actually published it; but now, as my second book rolls off the drydock, life is much the same, although it contains more work and a little more to worry about.