First, a word of thanks to my supporters- my readers, my Beta crew, my first line of defense, J Nic & CCJ. There are a NUMBER of people who have contributed to me still being here, still tryna play at this author thing. To all of them, I want to issue a heartfelt thank you!
I remember way back in the olden days (like 2015) when i was about to publish my first book. Like, I was about to hit the publish button on Amazon and send my baby out into the world for strangers to grab it and grope it and criticize it and say nasty things about it. And me. Because that’s what I was convinced was going to happen.
I remember sitting there, my finger trembling on the mouse, willing myself to press it. Willing myself to subject the world to me as an author, in all of my debut, awkward, new authorness, in all of my “should have done it this way or that way”ness, in all of my “they’re gonna hate this book”ness.
A craaazy thing happened, though, after I made myself hit publish and my butt went numb and I had to go to bed and bury my head under the pillow, as if the entire world could see my soul just.. hanging outside my body right there on Amazon…. No one was nasty. There were some criticisms, yes, but nothing I couldn’t deal with. PEOPLE LIKED MY WRITING. People I adore and respect read it and asked me for more.
And I was floored because if you let some writers tell it, the world of readers is an awful ugly place full of mean people just waiting for your precious to come out so they can pounce and tear it apart and give it low ratings and talk about how you suck as a writer and why do the people on the cover of your book look white??? (actually happened, I got over it)
So I published another book- didn’t hit as hard as I wanted to but every time I think about taking it down, it gets another 4 star review. Like…..what?
And I published another book. And I thought… welp this might be the one that no one likes. And of course, on the contrary, that book outsold my first two COMBINED.
So I’ve written a new book and ya’ll know the drill. I’m writing, I’m weeping, I’m gnashing teeth and tearing my sackcloth and spreading ashes and my writing pals are rolling their eyes and telling me to shut up and write. And I am sending work to my Beta readers and I’m holding my breath because, as the first line of readers, they’ll let me know that it sucks. And I think everyone who has said, ‘this book is great! It’s so cute, a really great read, good job!” is lying through their pearly whites. But I like the book so I pub it.
And the good reviews are rolling in so fast, I can’t even keep up.
And then I wake up six days later to find that I have hit Amazon Top 100 list in several categories and almost fall out of the bed.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I AM YELLING ABOUT!!!!!
Here is the thing about writing… you just don’t know. You just really don’t know, until you feel you’re ready, and YOU like your work and you’re ready to lay your soul bare to the readers, ready to push that button, what’s going to happen. The book could fly. The book could sink. You just never know.
I wrote a post a few weeks back about feeling ICKY about writing. I hated everything I’d started, had a hard time sticking to anything because I’d get to the “hard part” and be like…well, what now? And I got such good advice from people, but namely from my friend Roni who said, “Write It Anyway. You might hate it while you’re writing. Write it anyway.”
Maybe you’re not one of those writers who flails around in a caftan made of insecurity while you’re writing. Welp, good for you. I am one. I believe in writer’s block, I believe that I’m not as good as I think I might be, I believe all that crap I tell myself while I am writing. I also believe that believing these things keeps me in the improvement lane. The Getting Better Aisle. I’d rather be there than the Thinks I’m Hot Shit display.
And while I can’t say it’s fun… once the project is done and it’s out, Im very proud of me and I do like that feeling.
But before that…. way before that pride feeling. I’m scared. And I am learning to live with it, because it seems to be producing some good results.