Whenever I envision my future life as a writer, I find myself ping-ponging between two distinct scenarios, both equally pleasing. In the first, I picture my life as the "writer". It is a time of quiet solitude as I sit for hours at my desk, pouring over my latest manuscript. In the second scenario, I have emerged on the other side of the process. I am now, officially, an "author." My life's work has been validated, and I happily (and humbly) interact with my readers.
Nowhere in my dreams is there any mention of this murky in-between -- the confusing time between manuscript and book -- when the people I know are finally invited to share in my dreams without any evidence that those dreams will come to fruition. This phase is omitted from my daydreaming for good reason. I HATE this phase.
I have always tried to keep my writing a secret, downplaying it as "just a hobby" to those who knew about my pursuits, and flat-out denying it to others (Am I writing anything? Nope. Haven't written in years). Then I made the decision to publish ANOM: Awakening on Amazon, and I knew things would have to change. People would KNOW!!!!
I spent the better part of this week thinking about my anxiety in regards to sharing my writing -- Why should it bother me so much to say out loud, "Hey guys, guess what. I wrote a book!"
The answer, at least for me, comes down to equal parts honesty and vulnerability. Whenever we outwardly reveal our honest, 100% authentic selves, we incur 100% vulnerability. At that moment, in those precious seconds between acceptance and rejection, there is no self-defense. That is a scary thought -- to put yourself entirely at the mercy of someone else -- even when that "someone else" happens to be your friends and family.
That's why I've spent the last week squirming in my own skin. What will people think about this dream of writing? Is it silly? Is it stupid? What if they actually want to read the book? What if they read it and hate it? What if they read it, and at the end of the day, it's not good enough-- these are the questions I ask a hundred times a day. Is it any wonder I'd rather avoid them altogether by keeping this part of my life a secret?
Too late. The website is up. The Facebook page is out there. People know that I'm a writer now, and if they want to talk about it . . . in the words of Vanessa, I had better get used to it.
That leaves only one thing to do -- invite as many people as I know to like my Facebook page, check out my website, and sign up for my newsletter. Is it scary? Yes, but what choice do I have? This is the life I want -- this is my dream -- and honesty and vulnerability are a big part of the deal.