As I draw closer to releasing my first book I’m learning that an entire litany of fears accompanies the long awaited day of publication.
I have spent the last eight years of my life pursuing this goal. I went to school for it, I’ve studied it, and I’ve written several books to completion, none of which were any good at all. They were learning experiences, attempts at finding my own voice, and discovering how to say what I wanted to say.
And now, after eight years, I have something that I finally think is ready–something I think is good enough to attach my name to and put in your hands…the hands of hopeful readers just like myself, searching for another great adventure.
Getting a book to that point–a point where I feel like what I’m giving you has worth and value–took eight years.
And now I have to do it again.
I’ve been working on the new book for a little more than three weeks now. It started with some rough outlining, and then moved into more detailed plotting, which is what I’m doing now, but occasionally I’m overwhelmed by this thought–or maybe feeling is a better term–that I have no idea what I’m doing.
Most of my fears seem to come back to my previous post about wanting a little validation, or confirmation, that I’m on the right track–someone to tell me that I’m doing all of the right things in all of the right ways.
But it’s not something I have and that’s okay.
I think one of my biggest problems (and a potential problem for many other writers who are on the same path) is that I put too much pressure on the success of my writing, which can make it way less fun at times. There’s a part of me that thinks if success doesn’t come now, with my first book ever, it’s never coming at all, and that can make some days real shitty.
They are days where all you notice are the flaws in your writing, and you try to convince yourself that you’re not just flying by the seat of your pants, drifting aimlessly with little to no direction, playing pretend in your head. They are days where you have to work real hard to convince yourself that what your’re doing has substance, and depth, and can be fulfilling to someone other than you.
Recently I’ve been having these days while preparing the new book. I haven’t started a new book in over a year and there’s this part of me that feels like I’m doing everything wrong. In those moments it feels like I’ll look back on these days as a waste of time, and I’ll still be so far away from achieving my dreams.
But that’s a part of this process, I suppose. Eight years, in comparison with many, many authors, isn’t that long. In all likelihood it’s going to be another eight (and probably more) before I get to a point where I’m finally able to spend all of my time putting down on paper the stories that swirl in my mind.
When those awful days come around what I have to ask myself is, “are you still having fun?” If the answer is no it’s probably because I’m putting too much emphasis on the success of my books, and not enough on getting lost in the process–on submitting to the joy that brought me to writing in the first place, and letting myself get lost in a different world for a bit.