My book is officially ready for print. After a lot of sweat, tears, headaches and worry, it’s done, it’s ready. It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t excited, of course I’m excited. Every writer dreams of the day of seeing their work in print. But at the moment, I think I’m more terrified than anything. The closer I get to my book being published, the more my worry consumes my excitement.
In this corner, we have my worried self. She gets headaches, can’t sleep, she drives me mad with her endless questions.
“What if I only get bad reviews?”
“What if readers hate the book?”
“What if it doesn’t sell, at all?”
“What if I’m really not meant to be a writer?”
In this corner, we have the confident, logical, level-headed me. She takes blows in stride, looks for constructive help in criticism, and is certain I’m on the right path in life. I hope that she’ll kick my worried self’s ass.
The truth is, if I’m not meant to be a writer, I have no idea what I am meant to do in life. At 31, I’ll still be trying to answer the question, “What do you want to be?” that I was asked in my senior year of high school. How pathetic would it be, fourteen years later, to still not have an answer for that question?
Be a mom. I’m good at that (I think), I enjoy it, it feels right being a mom. But being that alone leaves me feeling…restless, like I’m also meant to do something else too. Hopefully, this writing thing is it. If not, it’s anyone’s guess what I should be doing because I thought I had figured it out.
I have asked my worried self to kindly shut up and piss off, because I have work to do and she wastes my time with nonsense. So far, she hasn’t listened. She has a lot of that Polish stubbornness running through her. The level-headed me then has to come out and try to talk the worried me off the ledge. You remember the old episodes of SNL with Stuart Smalley?
That’s what my internal conversations are like.
“If we get bad reviews, we’ll just look for constructive criticism in them, and use it to better our writing,” the confident me says, with a cool, assuring tone and takes a step closer.
“What if there’s nothing constructive?” the worried me says, her panicked eyes locked on the street below as she steps further out on the ledge.
“Then they’re just being mean, and we ignore it.”
“What if it’s not mean, what if they’re right and we shouldn’t be doing this!” the worried me says. She is hysterical now, tears streaming down her pale, tired face as she inches almost out of reach.
“Of course we should be doing this, we’re not good at much else, and people have praised us before,” the confident me says, scooting toward the worried me, hesitantly grabs her hands and eases her off the ledge.
Perhaps this makes me crazy, an all out ‘not with it’ woman, having internal conversations like that with myself.
“That’s what puts the quirkiness into our writing,” the confident me says, winking at me as she walks away.
Maybe if I bribe her with new shoes, and of course an outfit to match, she’ll finally get rid of that nuisance me. I really wish that she would. The worrier me disrupts my sleep, gives me bad hair days and messes up my ultra-cool blog posts...ok, so they're not ultra-cool, but she really screws things up! So I ask my writer friends, if this insane worry is normal, and does it ever go away? Because, frankly, she's very annoying that one.