Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Masochism of Writing

Here I sit, wiping tears from my face and blowing my nose. I am in emotional distress.

Why? Because someone who's opinion I value called me a "VERY talented" writer. Another person who I admire says I "have it together."

If they only knew.

Writing is just this side of masochism... or a mental disorder (no disrespect to the non-neurotypical peeps out there - I literally mean the medical definition).

Writers are, by and large, introverts. Many of us have bullying, abuse or just plain shyness in our life histories. We aren't the in-your-face types. We don't brag about ourselves. We tend to have self-derogatory senses of humor, and a whole lot of empathy.

When you publish a book, 99.99% of the time, you are responsible for marketing that book. That means - getting into the spotlight, pushing the book, telling people how awesome it is, using ourselves as a brand...

Writers tend to be uncomfortable getting attention. Many of us are incredibly insecure about our writing. Some of us even have imposter syndrome. We often have very real anxiety when our work is critiqued.

The number one way to sell a book is to get reviews. You get reviews by pretty much begging, pleading, and otherwise shoving your book into as many hands as possible and hoping they type out their reactions somewhere online.

It's like a sick joke.

I have to brace myself just to send an email to a publisher with a query. I close my eyes before I click "Send." I am brought to near-tears just knowing that someone has given an opinion about my work. No, it doesn't matter what that opinion is. The anxiety is about the fact that there IS AN OPINION.

And I'm not alone in this. Many, many authors go through the same thing. Most of us find ways to logic out the better responses, but we still often have the discomfort about the entire process.

So, I have someone who is really excited to read my book. She asked for a copy so she can read and review it.

I want to curl up on my bed and die... right up until it's over. Then, I'll do the whole thing again.