That’s right, I’m talking about the big P-word: Publishing. Why does that word scare the vast majority of the human population? Maybe it’s because there’s something so permanent about it. And yet, countless people get tattoos every day without a second thought. Or maybe it’s the way writing feels so… intimate. I can attest that I’ve indirectly admitted very personal things through my characters. Art, of any kind, is a great medium for bringing the depths of your mind to the forefront in a socially acceptable manner.
Even if you’re not like me – who started writing as a way to cope with an absolutely paralyzing crush – you still might be hesitant. In this week’s article, I’m going to unpack what’s eating you from the inside out. Ironically, sometimes the only way to vanquish those lies is to write. And maybe you’re one of the lucky few who say writing comes easily to them, but publishing still freaks you out. Let’s figure out why, so you can proudly share your work for all to see, with no regrets.
Look, I get it – I actually struggle a lot with this one too. Daily. What helps me the most is to go back through and read either emails from happy editing clients, or five-star Amazon reviews. When I hit the idea that I’m a poser with cold-hard proof that I’m not, the negativity dissipates fast. Over time, you can train your brain to do this automatically. But until that day, feast your eyes on tangible positivity you can see. I also read over my resume. Not for proofreading purposes, but to remind myself of all the cool things I’ve accomplished. Like graduating from an incredibly-intense high school that made me threaten to drop out countless times from extreme exhaustion and burnout. Or better yet, my Magna Cum Laude honors from a college that I was told I wouldn’t be good enough for (true story). Point is, it can be so gratifying to reflect on how far you’ve come, and how far you’re going to go. For more about positivity, read my 2021 New Year’s Resolutions HERE.
People-Pleasing Has No Place in Publishing
That’s yet another p-word that might be even scarier than publishing. It’s normal to want to be accepted by your peers. True freedom comes from no longer caring what anyone thinks. I know, you probably think this is easier said than done – and you’d be right. But this is where true freedom is. If I wasn’t so secure in myself now, I might be a little freaked that the object of my crush may have figured out he was the inspiration for my debut novel. But you know what? It’s flattering, at the very least. I cringe now because my writing sucked. The feelings behind it are now as dead as the pet hermit crabs I had in elementary school. But it’s where I came from, and I couldn’t be here if I hadn’t been there first. And conversely, I won’t be able to attain the illustrious future in writing that I’m sure to have if I quit now. Write what you want, and don’t let anyone stop you. That being said, if you really feel that your genre of choice may affect your professionalism, using a pen name is a great option. Do what it takes to let your creativity fly.
Maybe you like your story, but you genuinely feel that no one else will. And you know what I’d say to that? You’re right! Well, halfway right, maybe. Some people will like what you’ve written, and still others won’t. But that’s not a reflection on your skill at all – that’s just universal human nature. There is nothing in the world that literally every human being likes, not even chocolate. But you publish anyway, because that’s the only way to find the readers that will love your work. Your book could easily be the best thing they’ve ever read, but that can’t happen if you don’t publish it. Overthinking is the bane of all creativity, and life too, honestly. I’ve cracked down on my own overthinking habits lately, and never felt better. Energetically, what’s meant for me will come to me. I don’t have to try so hard. This advice is solid for both publishing and relationships – trust me.
I hope these points offer you a new perspective on the publishing journey. Of course, they won’t really make it any easier. But at the very least, maybe you’ll get out of your own way and thrive.