I’m going to make a confession of sorts here. Writers are, I believe, a strange breed of human. We work alone for the most part. Just us, our thoughts, and a computer screen or notebook. Some play music, like I do. Others need silence.
But this is all on us. We don’t write our stories by committee vote. We may have friends or colleagues we use as sounding boards for plot ideas, yes. And some of us do have writing partners who share credit on the book. More often than not, it’s just one person striving to entertain millions of readers.
Once that part of the process is over, though…it shifts. We no longer need the world to leave us alone. We need others to let us know our words are worth reading. That our stories entertained them, distracted them. Made them laugh or cry. Not just with reviews, either. Social media’s meant for us to connect with others who we normally wouldn’t.
When an author that’s trying to reach out, share their work, has it met with crickets….it hurts.
It makes us think we’re not good enough (okay, so 89% of us already have that fear). That our words, our stories, aren’t something anyone cares about besides us. Especially when a few people encourage you to post an excerpt but none can be bothered to so much as like it.
We start to spiral into a dark place where we wonder if we should just give it all up. Take that muse that makes us feel alive and shove her back into a cage, throw away the key. Maybe the toxic people in our lives, the ones who were jealous or fearful that we’d succeed, were right.
Maybe we really do suck at this.
No, I’m not giving up. I trust my agent, know she’s sending out my books to publishers. I know there’s going to be a publisher that likes my work. I know that, eventually, people will read my books and get excited for the next one. It happened before, it will again.
Today, though, I’m tired of sending things out into a void and not even hearing an echo.
Writing’s therapy for me. It’s getting everything I can’t articulate verbally out. It’s unburdening my soul, and healing some scars that are deep, red, raw, and angry. I grew up in a world where everything I did wrong was amplified and everything I did right was qualified. I was taught to look at any success – from grades to presentation of a project in a club – with a critical eye of what I needed to do better at the next time. This set me up for a lifetime of never being able to be ‘good enough’ because the bar would always get raised. It led to a canyon of self-doubt that borders on crippling some days.
I’ve only found 2 ways out of that chasm: my own strength and hearing from others that I’m worth having things that are good in my life.
I don’t say these things to get a swarm of likes. I don’t like admitting to myself, let alone the rest of you, that I need that reinforcement. I’ve got trust issues that rival Thia’s. It’s one reason she HAS them. If I can get her to trust others, so can I.
But, as I said, this is how I deal with my black moods. Write them down, admit I’m having a sucky morning, and let go of the anxiety and depression. Because I have too many people who rely on me to be the strong one.
BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm