I have a few insecurities.
Okay, I lost count after 359, or somewhere in there. It was a while back around college when I stopped trying to keep track of them all.
I may have mentioned that I have dreams of publication, and perhaps even put forth the odd rumor that I am working towards such a thing.
This comes with a barrel of insecurities I wasn’t prepared for. I didn’t think these were even issues until things started looking somewhat, vaguely, if-you-squint-your-eyes-and-tilt-your-head-in-a-dimly-lit-room-kind-of-way, REAL. (Five years might be a long time off for you, but for me, that equates to NEXT WEEK.)
I wasn’t prepared to start crying because I can’t write as well I want, as fast as I think I should. I wasn’t prepared to start freaking out because OH_MY_GOD (pick any one) I can’t seem to squish myself into even a loose deadline for a rough draft. I wasn’t prepared for pro opinions sagely talking of pushing out 4-8 books in a year, every year, not just to make a living wage at this gig but to keep you in the forefront of your demographic’s little brainpan.
I wasn’t prepared to look at the social media self-promotional requirements and either have my own psyche shut down at the sheer amount of (what I perceive as) chaos and a lot less private than I like to be. I wasn’t prepared to look at the advice of writers who say “yea, verily, Twitter and Facebook will get you all the self promotion you need” while simultaneously looking at reports about spyware, malware and spamware being loaded from those sites.
I wasn’t prepared for the masochistic hair-pulling. The temper-tantrums trying to tease out WHO would make a good beta-reader and will they work for all my genres or just one? (Hint: 1 person out of 100 makes a halfway decent beta-reader, 1 out of that batch of 100 will be a GOOD beta reader and 1 out of that third batch will be able to read more than one genre – all of this after you’ve trained them up, which I’m still not entirely certain as to how to do. So far I’ve got 1 and half people.). More sage advice from more pros about how one MUST do this and that if you want to be successful.
I was literally sitting on our bed, trying not to cry, trying to explain to the husband why my failure was pre-ordained. I couldn’t write fast enough. I couldn’t write well-enough and OMG I’M GOING TO BE REMEMBERED AS PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE IF AT ALL!!!! I’m not author material, I’m not. I’m not made of Martin and Heinlien and Tolkien and Butcher and Harrison and Brooks and the rest.
My husband calmly looks at me and says: “You are an author. We’re just working on getting you published. One day at a time.”
Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking – “Awwwwwww……”
Here’s what I was thinking: “OMG I HAVE TO SUCCEED OR I SUBJECT MY ENTIRE FAMILY TO FAILURE.”
Not that I ever put pressure on myself or anything.
My husband believes I can make this work despite the statistics that indicate the likelihood of my being only a tiny blip in the metadata, if at all.
My husband tells me I’m a good writer and to stop comparing myself to all the rest.
My husband says don’t worry about the money when I show him the numbers about how it takes at least five books in a series before your name is recognized and people actively look for your work. 5 books before you start drifting into the black of the balance sheet.
“You’ll get there. Don’t worry so much about it. Just focus on the writing.”
I know he’s right about the focus part. I’ll never get anywhere if I don’t have any product to shove out the door in the first place.
But I’m terrified his faith is misplaced. I’m afraid he doesn’t really understand what I’m saying when I talk about things like how long it may take to earn the money back. How much longer it may take to make a profit at this gig. “We’ll worry about that later.”
He tells the kids I’m a writer. “That’s Mommy’s job.” The kids believe this. He seems to believe it. I wouldn’t even be able to seriously consider self-publishing as an option (as far off as it is) if he wasn’t behind it.
And yet, I can’t help but to wonder if he’s cheering for the losing team.