Do you ever get scared? Especially now that your ARCs are out and people can read your book, does it scare you to know that people are reading what you wrote? What's that like? I think that's the part of publishing that scares me the most -- the part where people you don't know actually read what you wrote. I don't know if I could ever handle that. How do you deal with it?
there's a shift in every stage of this journey. the shift from being an aspiring author, to even being an agented author, to then becoming an author with a book deal, and then finally crossing that threshold into the public where you stand, stark naked, waiting for people to tell you exactly what they think of your every imperfection as you huddle under the unflattering light of fluorescent bulbs. each stage is different, each unique in its own right. but that final stage? that last stage?
yeah, it can be pretty damn scary.
for so long we sit in silence behind a computer screen with nothing more than a blinking cursor and a shedding cat to keep us company. we pour our hearts out onto pages and wipe the tears from our eyes and maybe no one will ever know why we wrote what we did. maybe no one will ever truly understand what propelled us to write what we wrote in those hundreds of pages.
not everyone can know our stories, our backstories, our inspirations and aspirations. not everyone will look long enough to see the years of rejection, the pain and perseverance that went into writing and publishing a novel. reviewers will be honest, and in doing so, they might be cruel. they might try to draw parallels from our work to our waking life -- which makes sense, considering what an emotionally involved endeavor it is to write a book -- but often the conclusions they draw will be incorrect. there's nothing we can do to control that.
so we sit. and we wait. we eat our fingers and rock back and forth and wish we could dig up the floorboards and bury ourselves underneath. some days will be hard. some readers will hate the words that dared to stumble out from under our fingertips. maybe we'll be judged. maybe we'll be accused. maybe we'll be laughed at and ridiculed.
but i think that's okay.
because here's the thing about writing a book. here's the thing about writing with heart, with hurt, with emotion and raw, organic feeling: someone will find it. someone will find your words, your strength, your humor and your sensitivity and it will be an escape, a wonder, a welcome friend. for every critical review there will be a constructive one, for every constructive review there will be others that are praising. i believe that.
and it's hard. it's hard because maybe sometimes we'll want to hide. sometimes we'll wish we never cut ourselves open and threw our hearts on the table and maybe sometimes we'll want to quit. we'll be blamed for covers and copyeditors and things that are entirely outside of our control. but the trick is in remembering why we ever put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, eyes to the sky. we had words in our head that we needed to share. we had stories to tell that couldn't be confined by the limitations of our human body.
we needed to write.
and in doing so we will have reached out.
it's hard to be thrown into a world of scrutiny, a world wherein your rawest emotions are ripped out of your chest and are promptly evaluated by people who may or may not like what they see. of course it's hard. but it's part of the beauty. it's part of the struggle. because there's something so profound in realizing the utter subjectivity of this industry. this brilliance unique to the world of literature. that a book that makes one girl roll her eyes is the same that makes another sob herself to sleep.
you can never forget why you write. why you dare to dream and dream big.
it's scary sometimes, maybe a lot of the times, but you don't have to be afraid. because you and me, anon? you and me and everyone else -- we're all in this together. we're all going to face the same challenges, the same hurdles, the same stumbling blocks. but it will make us stronger. it will make us braver. maybe the negative reviews will push us to write better. maybe the positive reviews will make our days much brighter. maybe it'll all be worth it just to get an email from someone you've never met -- someone you might never meet -- who read and loved your book.
and when you feel scared, take a look around. remember that every single book you've ever seen in your entire life was written by someone just like you and me. and they were all scared, too. they worried. they wondered. they struggled with fear and self-doubt. they were criticized and ridiculed and ripped to pieces.
but without them, where would we be?