So this week my novel finally published! It is a strange feeling, especially considering 5 months ago I was shyly admitting to my closest friends with a dismissive statement that "I wrote a book." It always had a disclaimer though, "It sounds silly but..." or "no one will probably read it..." or something of the like. Why must we cut ourselves down before we ever even try? That question is aimed at my insecure self of course but I'm pretty sure the sentiment is fairly universal.
It is like there is this little voice deep in my brain that says, "Who do you think you are to demand a voice in the world?" How completely terrible is that? So for me, saying the words, "I am a writer" and "I wrote a book" have been the most challenging part of the process. I had to summon enough "Yes I can" bravado to wash out the years of "Oh No you fucking can't" that seemed to dominate my mind.
So really, publishing the book was the easy part. Deciding to put it out there against my internal self berating dialogue was a battle hard fought and I am happy to say finally won (for the moment as I know how this self assured business works- hint: like a faucet with ice and fire and you can only choose one).
I choose to see each thing I undertake like a battle against myself. I realize not the healthiest of outlooks but there you go. Like, just how far can I push this "No you fucking can't" voice? Well, let's write a book and find out. And how about another one? And let's make that one a series. While I truly hope people read all my books and that they love them and someday I end up a New York Times Best Seller on Oprah's book list and party with the likes of JK Rowling and Stephen King (like I said- how far can I push this thing?)... Ultimately, the battle won was taking the dialogue back away from the place of self defeat. It is a lifelong process to leave those voices bruised and battered at my feet as I push past their ugly words, but it is one I refuse to stop fighting.
The day after I sent The Darkness We Carry to my editor, I began writing my next novel. I had an ex boyfriend once tell me I was like fire, if I stopped moving I would die. That's kind of scarily accurate. I can't let that "No" voice win, and if I keep moving I keep reminding myself that you actually fucking can. Don't get me wrong- I am also incredibly lazy. Drinking coffee on the couch is my favorite pastime and my husband reminds me daily that sleeping is my superpower. But emotionally I keep pushing because I've got a lifetime of insecurities to clean out of the cobwebs in my brain. Do you feel me?
I know we all get broken down to believe that after a certain age we should just be happy where we are and not take the crazy wild leaps but why not? If one person reads my books and enjoys them, then awesome. I get the gift of writing them and that is the best feeling in the world. That and kicking the "No" voice in the teeth.