This year I did something really crazy. I published my first e-book. It’s a short story titled “Expiration Date” you can find it here . The first few hours after officially putting this story out there to the world I was excited. I am officially a published author – self-publishing e-books is so simple – yay go me.
Then fear set in.
Why did I just do that? What if the story wasn’t ready? I know my story could have been better, I should have waited. What will people think when they read this? What if they think I’m weird? What if they don’t want to read anything I write ever again? What if they laugh at the typos I didn’t catch? What if what if what if!
What’s funny is I’m not afraid of the criticism of strangers, we live in a judgemental world, and I know some people will hate my story and be mean enough to tell me about their dislike in a rude way. I know I’ve done it before. It’s easy to forget that behind every story good or bad there is an author who worked super hard and loves that story and feels heartbroken every time somebody insults it. If I’m an author and forget this, how much easier is it for those that don’t write to forget this.
Much worse than a stranger’s criticism is the thought of having my close friends and family read my story. These are people who know me, who I see on a regular basis. I’m not worried about their insults, I’m worried about their hidden thoughts. They may tell me my story is great while laughing at me on the inside. What if they think I’m incredibly immature because of my ideas, or think my romance scenes are pathetic, or overall are just disappointed in me and think it’s cute that I’m interested in this writing thing but don’t think I’ll ever become a “real author”.
I know, a lot of those thoughts are a little dramatic, but I’m a writer, being dramatic is what I do.
I wish I had a magic solution to this problem of fear. I think all authors and all artists struggle with it. Sadly, I don’t think we will ever get over our fear completely, but it never hurts to throw a little reason into the fear tornado either.
So next time you are afraid of what people will think of your writing, remember these things:
- Not everybody is a writer – They will be proud of you just for trying, and they won’t see all the flaws as clearly as you do, because it’s not how they are wired. Just like if you don’t play sports you can’t tell an ok player from a great player, or if you don’t paint you can’t see the flaws in an artists technique the same goes for writing/reading. Non-writers won’t notice the flaws in your story so don’t stress about it.
- You can learn a lot from failure – I published this book as an experiment, and in some ways, it’s good if I fail – because I can learn from it. I intentionally didn’t spend an excessive amount of time on this story because I wanted to get it out there. If you are going to fail, do it fast so you can get closer to success.
- Your friends and family love you – if the people in my life are going to secretly judge me behind my back then I haven’t picked very good people to share life with. Knowing my friends and family they probably won’t have a single negative thought about anything because they love me and will be blinded to errors in my story by that love.
- This story doesn’t define you – This is my first published work! If it stinks and gets terrible feedback that doesn’t say anything about me as a person or a writer. I am always growing and changing, so what I send out into the world on one day cannot define me the next. Just as the outcome of your first t-ball game doesn’t define what sort of baseball player you’ll be, neither does your first book.
I’ve been using these arguments to work up the courage to shout from the mountaintops that I’ve published an e-book and I’m charging money for people to read it because I take myself and my art seriously. But the fear is still there.
That’s the thing about fear – it’ll always be there. At some point, we have to have the courage to kick fear aside and do what needs to be done.
This whole post I’ve wanted to make excuses for my work in case it’s bad, but that’s not how you sell a story. I loved writing this short, I think it is a fun and exciting tale that will leave you thinking. So I’m going to stand up for it. This is an awesome story that I think you should read! So feel free to buy it here, here and here 😉
Stay Amazing my Friends,