In August, my debut novel, Crevice, released and I couldn’t be happier, but once it was out there I had this moment of panic. What did I do? My book baby was now on display for anyone to see. It was like those dreams I sometimes have where I’ve forgotten my clothes. I’m guessing I’m not the only one to ever feel this way, although I do tend to have control issues, so I thought I’d tell you why I felt this way.
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1. I felt exposed
In my nightmares of walking down the street in my underwear, every flabby piece of skin flops as I walk, every area of cellulite has a spotlight on it, and every saggy body part is dragged even lower by gravity. I want to run and hide, but somehow I can’t find my house.
Like that, I felt the pressure of perfection with Crevice. Every typo, every missing word and every awkward sentence (hey, we all have a few) would now be under the scrutiny of readers. People who didn’t even know me were going to judge what I wrote. It felt like putting my book baby on the firing squad. Yikes.
2. Not everybody is going to love it
So, if I were walking down the street in my underwear, there would be a few gawkers who would be saying “Awesome” (my husband, I hope), but some people would turn away full of shame for me. Not everyone would want to see my half-naked body.
Similarly, not everyone is going to love my exposed book baby. I haven’t experienced bad reviews yet, but I’m sure a few will inevitably come. We all have unique tastes and what I love may be awful to someone else. But that’s actually the beautiful thing about art—different people like different things.
3. The results are out of my control
People could take pictures of me as I’m walking in my underwear and I wouldn’t be able to stop them. Being exposed means I lose control.
When I put Crevice out there, I soon realized I couldn’t control all of what happened to it. Shortly after the release of the print version, Crevice was classified as a Christian Western (I didn’t even know there was such a category). Although the book takes place in Arizona, it’s a Romantic Suspense novel, not a Western. Because of some computer algorithms that I still don’t understand, it has remained as a Western, and I have accepted that. Thankfully, it has three classifications and only one of them is listed as Western.
My cure for the above fears and my control-issues is prayer. Conversation with God helps me to see that I’m not responsible for the outcome. My job is to show up at the keyboard, write the best I can, and leave the results to God.
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