In this journey to self-publishing, I'm learning all kinds of things. The first and biggest thing is...you get nowhere without a good and strong support group around you.
I have someone behind the scenes holding my hand saying do this next, then this, then this.
I have another (or five) someones I call and cry to. I can't do this. I'll never get it done. My book sucks. No one will buy it.
I call those same five someones plus the first one and say OMG, I'm a genius. This book will make eleventy million dollars!
To all of those phone calls these result is the same - Keep on working. You will succeed. You are brilliant but get a hold of yourself. (Actually they say, Of course it will make all the money! Then they hand me a sedative.)
But at the end of all that, even with all your troops rallied around you, arms linked like you're in an epic game of Red Rover, there comes a moment when you're alone at your computer and it's time for the next step and you have to do something...take a leap of faith.
Just like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, you take a step then scatter pebbles to find your path...only a thousand times more scary.
You must hit send. You story goes whizzing off into cyberspace and it is what it is. There's no more tweaking, there's no more editing, there's no more making your characters change. It is done. It is out there. And at the end is your own Holy Grail.
I sent the first half off of my novel to my copy editor yesterday. My stomach instantly tied in a ball and I thought of at least four things I should do differently in the book. I shouldn't. It's been through the wringer. It's been read and edited and read and revised and read again. Then gone through and revisededitedread again.
But still, the moment I sent it crushing panic and terror set in. I can't ever make it better than what it is now.
Why do writers have that voice in their heads telling them it's not good enough? That no one will love it? That their story will fail? It should be the opposite. I think people will connect with Ellie and River and Sam and Connor. I think I have crafted a good narrative. I think the sweet kisses and sexytimes will leave people...um, happy. So why the doubt? Why the fear?
Because being a writer is being an artist. Some will love it, some will hate it, and while it's your work they are judging it feels as if they are judging you. It's personal. Even if you write a story about aliens that communicate through messages written in Nutella on the Planet Shrinky Dink, it's personal. If it isn't, you didn't write the right story.
So here's to all of us taking that leap of faith every single day we sit down and let the characters in our heads come to life. Here's to the days we give them to our friends to read. And most of all, here's to the day we share them with the rest of the world.
Irene Rose will release her debut novel CHARCOAL AND HOT CHOCOLATE, June 4th, 2013.