Monday, April 16, 2007

And This Is When the Neurosis Begins

I know that I have a backlog of questions to get to, and fear not, I'm getting to 'em, but I also promised that I'd talk a bit about the time leading up to my publication date (three weeks!!), so please indulge this post.

It's a funny thing: now that I have the book in my hands, I've become completely neurotic about other people reading it. I was flipping through it this weekend - I can't bring myself to read it from cover to cover because I've literally already read it like, 15 times - and was thinking, this sucks!! I can't believe that this is going out into the world!! Who agreed to publish this??

Cue: me heading to the gym and running five miles to deal with myself.

I'm not the type of person who has a lot of self-doubt. You're probably not going to get the figurative, "does this make me look fat," question from me. But let me tell you, publishing a novel is terrifying. Thrilling, yes. But terrifying all the same, and at this very moment, it's hard not to be plagued with all sorts anxiety.

I mean, not only do you put yourself out there for critics, who actually don't bother me so much, but you put yourself out there for all of your friends and acquaintances and friends of acquaintances to see...and inevitably, some of them are going to think you suck. That's just a fact. Fiction is so subjective that what floats my boat won't float someone else's, and while I completely and totally understand this, it still makes my stomach churn just a tad. Because at the end of the day, even if your book isn't someone's cup of tea, you really don't want them to think that you suck. But the truth of the matter is, is that someone will think I suck, and the truth of that matter is that I just have to deal with it.

But that doesn't mean that I won't be logging a lot more miles on the treadmill in the next few months. :)

So I'm curious - other pubbed writers - have you experienced similar moments or am I just a complete headcase?


Jenny said...

You're a headcase. Just kidding! I can only imagine what it would be like to have a book come out...but I'm pretty sure I'd be pretty neurotic.

Jenny said...

P.S. Looking forward to reading TDLF!

Crabby McSlacker said...

As an unpublished author, I never really thought about the scary side of having a book out there. Logically it makes sense that no matter how good it is, someone's not gonna like it, and that "someone" could even be a person you know and like. Yikes! So I don't think what your experiencing is at all weird. However, I'm totally jealous anyway. Someday I'd love to have the same problem. Congratulations! Can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

If you ever pen a memoir, the neurosis will be a million times worse because it's not only your writing being critiqued, but often your whole life.

As for advice, once your book is out you'll be sorely tempted to check out reader reviews on Amazon. Unless your hide is made of Kevlar, STAY AWAY. I suspect you'll find even if you have a thousand five star reviews, it's impossible not to fixate on the handful of negatives.

If you have to check your Amazon ranking - and you'll be complelled to do so, even though it's kind of a meaningless measurement - don't tab down past the ranking.

Trust me on this one.

Trish Ryan said...

My book doesn't come out until next year, and I'm already logging treadmill miles. It's terrifying to have something that means SO much to us out there, with so many avenues for people to tell us why and how it might have let them down. (and why is it that it takes something like 47 "You changed my life" positive comments to peel our attention away from one, "Hmm...I expected more..." ???)

The only solution I can think of is to keep writing. I doubt that Nicolas Sparks or other prolific authors sweat every Amazon review; they're too busy trying to meet their next deadline :)

Kristen said...

it is so hard putting it out there, i hear you girl.

Anonymous said...

Even negative comments are a kind of acknowledgement. At least people are looking at your work and taking the time to give their opinion. I'm posting a novel on my site, and I'm happy for all comments, even the negative ones. It's proof that people are reading it. My site stats say that plenty of people are, but only a few are leaving comments. Other readers have told me it's not appropriate to comment on a novel, but I welcome it. I think the only thing that's worse than negative reviews is indifference and having your work completely ignored.

Lauri said...

I've experienced this feeling with my short stories. It's scary to think about how weird and neurotic I might be with a book. I like what you said about knowing not everyone will get your book. But I also know that mentally knowing that and stomaching it are two different things.

Great blog!