I’ve spent pretty much every spare moment I’ve had in the last ten years writing, revising, editing and submitting my manuscripts to agents and publishers. Finally, after many ‘close-but-no-cigar’ moments, I landed a deal. Champagne, right? Well, not exactly. Okay- I’ll admit, there was a bottle of champagne courtesy of my lovely friend Bozz- but getting a publishing contract really just means the start of an intense period of pure anxiety.
I really admire writers who put themselves out there from day one, sharing their writing journey. The ideas you chase down the rabbit hole and get lost with, the times when you can’t tell whether you’ve written something great or you’re an embarrassment to the English language, the endless procrastination (curating the perfect playlist is a favourite of mine), the business of your actual life (job, kids, staving off a visit from Environmental Health) the exquisite pain of submitting (it’s the hope that kills you) and never hearing back – or worse – hearing that they loved your work and very nearly took you on but eventually decided you weren’t a solid enough investment. You’re a Dragons’ Den reject. People who can put all that out there are brave. I’m not.
I don’t talk to anyone about my writing if I can help it because of THE FEAR. This has to change, now I’m finally getting somewhere, but it’s bloody terrifying. What if it’s awful? What if nobody buys it and you never get published again? Or in the unlikely event that someone does read it, what if they take offence and spearhead a campaign to burn you at the stake? Or (maybe more likely) what if the general consensus is that your book is so bad, you were an egomaniac to ever think anyone would read it and enjoy it? You contemptible failure of a human being, etc., etc. And so it goes. THE FEAR is a force to be reckoned with. Reckon I must, however. Clichés abound. Get outside your comfort zone. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You got this. My mind will soon exist solely as a rotation of motivational slogans. I must be active on social media, despite it being unequivocally bad for my smorgasbord of mental health problems. Get out there. I might even have to do an event in person where I have to stand and speak without falling to pieces. Cue manic laughter. The whole time, F.E.A.R. by Ian Brown is playing in the background. It’s okay though: Forget everything and remember/ For everything a reason.
Hang on, actually that’s no help whatsoever. Anyone have any ideas?