This month has been a big learning month for me filled with self doubt and anxiety. When I signed the contract with Golden Fleece Press, I was elated. Seriously. I danced around the living room and squealed. I'm going to be published! Holy crap! The euphoria ebbed and reality came crashing down around me. I mentioned in my previous blog post that I had no clue how to write a book for children. Even with the encouragement and help from my editor, I still worried about the language and the content. That worry turned into serious anxiety. I had written a first draft for my Abby book and it was crap, as all first drafts are. So I wrote it again. I still didn't like. So I wrote it again. I scrapped the idea several more times. I just couldn't get it. I went to the local used book store to pick up a few early reader books. It helped a little bit, but the difference in what qualifies as an early reader differs from publishing house to publishing house so I had no guidelines or examples to follow. My anxiety grew. When I am upset about something, I tend to bellyache about it (Sorry, Jules). It is my way of releasing the stress, or try to. Didn't really help this time, in fact, I feel like I annoyed people. It also didn't help that I had a huge falling out with a really good friend that managed to escalate more than it needed to thanks to other people needlessly getting involved. I wanted to write all six books, but instead I couldn't finish one. Looking ahead, the task of writing adult books seemed incredibly daunting. Enter the soul crushing self doubt. I had a week to where I could not bring myself to do anything writing related. That tiny inner voice picked up a loud speaker and was parading around like Westboro Baptist Church at a Pride Parade.
“You should give up. Nobody is going to like your stories. You can't write at all. I mean, seriously? You think this is good? They are going to take one look at it and throw it back in your face then laugh at you behind your back. Douchebag was right, you should stop trying to write because you suck at it. You should be ashamed trying to pass this off as book. Did you really think you could do it? Even IF it gets published, nobody is going to buy it. Face the fact that Meyer write better than you do.”
All these things were swirling and twirling through my mind night and day. Then one day I woke up and thought, you know what? Fuck you, self doubt! I'm going to do this and you can just shut the hell up. I'm going to do what I love and you can't stop me.
I decided to take advice given to me by Jules and Kate: write the story and we can work on language later. Okay, I thought, I got this. I sat down the other night and just churned it out. Honestly, I didn't have that much to write. The book is an early reader book. I finished it early in the morning last week. I was meeting Jules at the local Barnes and Nobel and I wanted to have it finished by then. Brian was getting ready for work and I read it to him. He really liked it, but of course, self doubt reared its ugly head.
I met with Jules and begrudgingly handed it over. She had to pull it from my shaking grasp. It was rather nerve-racking (yes, I used the British form here based on the origin of “rack”) to sit there as she was reading it. But all in all, it was good. She made minor grammar edits that the computer and I managed to miss. The only problem is, it might not be long enough! But once the page layout is set, we will see if I need to add more. My official turn in date is November 30, so we have time. I want to wait on writing the other books in the series. I would like to see what the page layout is going to be so I know how much I need to write. I think I will outline and leave it at that for now. There are other projects on which I would like to work. I also managed to throw out an idea about a series as a joke-ish, and now I can get the idea out of my head. I needed to add to the list of books I want to write, she says sarcastically, but hey, I guess that is the mind of a writer. We are forever filled with crazy ideas.
My goals this month are on the simple side.
1. Minion work, as needed.
2. Outline the rest of the Abby books.
3. Work on edits for two stories.
That is about it. Also, due date for “Audience Participation” is this month!