There was that moment when someone from Germany emailed me because he'd seen my book and wanted to see if he could buy a signed copy. This was so totally out of the blue and wonderful and sweet, it made my day. I kinda feel like we're friends now.
There have been moments when people have messaged/emailed/told me that they loved my book and they're excited to read the next one. I can't even tell you how thrilling that is. It isn't that I need the ego-stoking. It's simply that there's nothing more satisfying to my writer-self than knowing that someone else enjoyed what I created.
There have also been moments of fear. That moment when I pushed the "publish" button and realized I'd done it.
That moment when I saw a lengthy review of my book on a book blog. It was a great review, but somehow it sent me into a panic of angsty-writer terror. It was an in-my-face reminder that people out there are reading this, and they're going to have things like OPINIONS and EXPECTATIONS.
And what if I totally screw this up?
I'm working very hard on the next book and when I'm being smart and logical, I'm extremely excited with how it's going. There is more work to be done, but in the end, I think it's going to be a great story. But it has been hard the last few days to not let myself get caught up in the paralysis of worrying about how it might be received once it's out there.
I know, way to be emo, Claire.
Here's the thing. Putting your work out there for anyone to read (or see, or hear) is scary. It makes you vulnerable in a particular way. People reading my book are getting a window into my mind. All those times I daydreamed about these characters as I was driving my kids around, they're not just my daydreams anymore. They're a story that other people are going to read, and love or hate or be indifferent to. The characters aren't mine anymore. They're yours. They are as much a part of you as they are a part of me now.
With all of that comes the risk that I might fail. I might fall flat on my face, publicly, for anyone to see. But the alternative is far more somber. Because if I keep it to myself, if I never try at all, then I have absolutely no chance of success. And maybe that's even worse than failure.
So I steel myself for the moments that are going to hurt and wait for the moments that will take my breath away. And mostly I try to find moments to appreciate where I am today and all the exciting things the future holds.