But mixed in with all of that excitement comes a lot of fear and anxiety. Today, in an effort to help me get over myself, I thought I'd have a mini-counseling session with myself to address and hopefully conquer some of those fears. And because you're here, go ahead and watch along for your amusement. (And please feel free to share your own advice or concerns/solutions in the comments below.)
Fear 1: What if something goes wrong with the ebook file and people end up paying for and downloading something that looks more like Zingbats or Dingbats?
Laura, you've gotta believe in the wonderful team of people around you. They're rocking the heck out of making sure your new book baby is practically perfect in every way (like Mary Poppins) when readers pick it up. And if you won't believe in the goodness of people--which you totally should, you cynic--then use this logic: You're working with professionals. This is what they do for a living. Do you really think they want to risk their professional reputation by inadvertently turning an ebook file into hieroglyphics? Nope. Didn't think so. You need to get over this one and trust that everything will be fine. And if by some terrible, minuscule chance a glitch does happen, well, your team will take care of it.
Fear 2: What if someone hates this book and leaves a horrible review on Goodreads calling me, my characters, and the whole finished project a hack?
Well this is a legit issue, because it's going to happen. Not even the Bible or Harry Potter has a perfect five of five on Goodreads. Not even your girl Jane Austen pleased every reader. People are different. Tastes are different. And some people just really like tearing books apart in reviews. It sucks, but that's life. Here's the good news, though. Because people are different and tastes are different, someone is bound to really enjoy your book. Doesn't his or her opinion matter to you? Shouldn't you care more about that than the potential haters?
Fear 3: What if people hate me?
See above answer, and remember your mom and dad love you. And so do your cats. As far as they're concerned, you're the sun and the moon. Jane and Bingley are cool as sh*t, which makes you cool by association.
(UPDATED) Fear 3.5: What if people prefer (insert author's name)'s book over mine?
Then they do. You need to remember that you are on your own unique path. They are on their own path. Comparing yourself to them will only lead to a complex. Besides, you are not in competition with other authors. You should be cheerleading their successes, not using them as a means for jealousy.
Fear 4: What if I get so hung up on worrying about this project that I neglect my others?
You've done this before, and you got through it. You're still learning to do this whole author thing, which means you're still figuring out what does and doesn't work for you production wise. The good news is that every day you are coming one step closer to being the best version of yourself. It might take years or decades--hey, this is the truth zone, here, and I have to be honest--but you're still one step closer.
Fear 5: What if I'm not giving this project enough attention and it suffers?
There probably aren't many authors out there who haven't second-guessed their work and wondered what more they could have done to perfect their project. You have to do your best and try your hardest. But at a certain point you have to let go of the details and think about the big picture.
Fear 6: But what about that--
Nope. Don't worry about it right now. It's time to share this book with others and keep working on your next story and the next and the next.
Fear 7: What if my dad reads this and is scandalized by something? (I mean, some of the characters have s-e-x.)
Laura, honey, you need to get over this. And if your dad reads this book and ends up scandalized by this, he needs to get over it. People machen sie lieben. It's part of relationships. We also need to get over these hangups on people being judgmental or overly concerned about what happens in other people's bedrooms--especially fictional people's bedrooms. We also need to stop giving sex a connotation of being a bad thing when it's practiced in a healthy and respectful way.
Fear 8: What if Jane gets jealous that I wrote a fairly significant cat character based on her brother?
Jane is beautiful, sometimes sweet, and a fan of football. She's also always jealous of her brother about something, and she's frequently pissed off. What are you going to do? Plus, even though you would like to think otherwise, because she likes to cuddle up with you while you read, she actually can't read. She'll never know.
Fear 9: What if I can't get past all of these concerns and end up having a panic attack?
You're an anxious person. Panic attacks are part of your life. But now you know how to deal with them. And if all else fails, remember to pull up the list of things that make you happy that counselor had you make and store in your phone when you were in your anxiety hay days. Focus on those five things:
- When Bingley crawls into bed/on the couch with me and cuddles. He makes a little chirping sound then purrs. It's so stinking cute.
- Reading a romance novel that I've already read at least half-a-dozen times, yet it still gives me all the right feels.
- Whenever a picture or video of Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Michael Fassbender magically pops up in my News Feed.
- Receiving a random text from a friend or family member, because she or he saw, heard, or read something that made her or him think of me.
There. Don't you already feel better having read that list?
Fear 10: What if people think I'm a hopeless whiner/loser after reading this blog post?
You're focusing on the wrong part of this. Think about this: 1.) Someone read your blog post. And 2.) They felt enough of an emotion to form an opinion and/or feeling. Some would say that means you're doing it right. Others would say you're a vain person who really needs to get over herself. And who are we kidding? They're probably right. Regardless, take this wonderful message from your old friend Mr. Rogers as your parting thought:
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