So hey, I wrote a book. And it’s going to be published.
In the words of Clark Griswold (holiday spirit, y’all): Hallelujah! Holy Shit!
When I first started writing SOSG, it never seriously occurred to me that it could maybe, perhaps, one day be in a bookstore. It was a wild fantasy, something I would daydream about when I should have been working, or cleaning house, or–hey–actually writing. Being a published author is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a teeny tiny thing, but it never felt like something that could actually happen.
So, I wrote my little book. And it took for.ev.er. And that was okay. And it didn’t matter if it was terrible or not, since I was the only one who was ever going to read it. But, then I had a finished story, and maybe it didn’t suck as bad as I’d just assumed it did. Some people seemed to like it, at least. I started querying, and then eventually, the stars aligned and I snagged an amazing agent. Still, I couldn’t grasp the concept–not really–that my manuscript might one day become a Real Book.
Then, I got a book deal. Here it was. It was going to happen! My book was going to be published…at some point in the very, very distant future.
A funny thing about the very, very distant future is that it eventually becomes the not-so-distant future and then somehow morphs into the present. My book will be released in six months, and suddenly that feels like tomorrow. At this point, I’ve spent so much time with this book that I don’t even know anymore if I love it or hate it or never want to see it again. The moment that I’m feeling like I could really use some distance from this story is essentially the same moment that people out there in the world will experience it for the first time (I mean, if they want to).
The idea of other people actually reading this book is TERRIFYING. There are so many things to be anxious about. What if, despite the teams of people who have scoured this manuscript for typos, there is a typo or twelve? *Eek.* What if I don’t do justice to my subject matter? (More on that in another post.) What if I’m completely out of my depth and can’t actually write at all? What if the words from my heart don’t translate well onto the page? What if (shudder) my grandparents read it? (Dear Lord, don’t let my grandparents read it. The sex scenes alone will have me blushing for the rest of my life.) Why did I ever send this book out into the world? Why did I write it to begin with? Why, oh why, did I do this scary Thing?!
My default emotions, when I think of my book being out there for anyone to read, are doubt and fear. But there was a reason I did this Thing. I remember being that little girl with her nose stuck in a book who dreamed of being an author one day. I remember when the kernel of inspiration for SOSG took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Maybe my debut novel doesn’t win any awards, and maybe it doesn’t get everything right. Maybe it’s universally hated. But how many people get the chance to do this in the first place? How many unpublished authors would give anything to be in this position, experiencing this very level of anxiety? There’s a certain amount of talent and a whole lot of luck that goes into getting this far. I know how lucky I am. I’m predisposed to worry about literally everything, but beneath that fear and doubt, there’s something else. Pride. I’m proud of my story. Even if it scares me. Even if it’s imperfect.
Because no matter what may come, I did it. I wrote a book. I sent it out. I did the scary Thing.
Whatever your scary Thing is, maybe you should do it too.