Things are getting wrapped up with my first ever book (well, first book I haven’t thrown out when I was done writing it), and my mind is a constant carnival ride of ups and downs. I sent the 3rd draft copy off to my editor on Monday, and I’ve been busying myself with working on the second book while I’m waiting, but some things have begun to nag at me as the final day draws closer.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I plan on publishing the book myself, for a number of different reasons, some of which I’ve talked about here. One of those reasons is that I get to put the book out on my terms, without doing all of the extra leg work that comes along with finding literary agents, and publishers.
As publication gets closer however, I’m seeing one advantage to traditional publishing that I’ve overlooked until now. Validation.
I’m sure, to many, this isn’t a knew idea, but it never occurred to me that I would have to be the person saying my book was finished. I mean, it did, but not in the strict sense that comes along with the now approaching reality of actually putting the book out there.
In my gut, my head, and my heart, I feel that the book is ready, but it’s hard to tell because when it’s your creation — your art — it can never really be finished. It’s hard for me to move away from a project I’ve gone over so many times — a project I know so intimately.
Painting a room in your house can actually be a good analogy for the way I’ve feeling right now. Let me explain: When painting a room, you’ll get real close to the walls, especially when you’re doing corners, trim, or the spots around the ceiling, and you’ll notice all of the little inconsistencies in the paint, all of the tiny mistakes you’ve made. You’ll stare at them, thinking the flaws are so clearly apparent, and yet when you step back, and the paint drys, everything looks marvelous — nearly perfect.
BUT, if you move in close again, you’ll see that a lot of what bothered you in the first place is still there, and seems glaringly obvious — move back out and they disappear again.
This is where I find myself currently, nitpicking over foibles, and I would very much welcome someone who’s done this all before telling me that everything is ready — everything is ok. I’ve had beta-readers, I’ve had several intense rounds of edits, I’ll soon have the revisions back from my editor, but ultimately it’s me making the call, and it’s honestly a little daunting.
The way I’ve been reigning in my thoughts when they get too out of control is by telling myself that all of this — all of life in general — is a learning process. If my book comes out and proves to have not been ready, my only option will be to learn what lessons I can, and move on.
I believe the book is ready, though. I believe it’s fun, and exciting, and interesting–maybe even thought provoking, and I’m ultimately ready to put it out there for the world to see.