Do you often feel like one of these fellas are in hot pursuit whenever you post some of your fiction for all the world to see? If so, then this post–born from my posting to my blog Chapter 1 of Out of the Sea yesterday–is for you. I’m going to go into a bit of history here, so bear with me.
When I was in college (strange to look back and realize this was about ten years ago now), I started to write fiction regularly. I got my start the way so many self-respecting nerds get their start in fiction writing, and that is writing fan fiction. (Note to all fan fiction writers–I do not mean to say that fan fiction is only rudimentary. It isn’t–it’s just a great place to begin the path to writing fiction.) I wrote Harry Potter fan fiction and I loved learning how to develop plots, write compelling descriptions and dialogue, and build a story from the comfort of a world I knew so well.
From there, I started wanting to create my own fiction–my own worlds. I migrated into writing my own fantasy stories, which then became writing horror stories (mainly to satisfy an obsession with zombies as a literary device). I was happy to post all of this anywhere and everywhere for the world to see and I didn’t care what happened if someone didn’t like it. Granted, I’m always happy to receive constructive criticism, but mean comments that weren’t helpful at all didn’t get me down.
Then I began writing historical fiction, which I love. It takes a lot longer, sure, because there is a fair bit of research involved and sometimes it’s really tricky to nail down a particular fact (especially when you can’t get any response from a museum that isn’t within a reasonable distance). Maybe it’s because it’s more work for me to write historical fiction, or maybe because I feel as though I’ve found the genre that I really love to write, but I noticed yesterday that when I posted that chapter on my blog, my heart started to race a little. I got nervous.
What if you, my wonderful readers, don’t like it? What if there are mistakes? What if, what if, what if…?
Then I had an awesome, calming thought. If you don’t like it, you won’t read it. You’ll skip my Sunday posts for the next couple months while I post this story. Can’t please everyone all the time. If there are mistakes, hey, I haven’t gone through and completely edited everything yet because I’m still writing the novel. I’ll fix ‘em, whether they’re internal to the book or related to some research rock I’ve not yet turned over. Sure, I could wait until it’s done, but here’s the thing about self-publishing. I have to set my own deadlines. If I know that every Sunday, I have to post a chapter (whether or not you are among the folks who may want to read it), then every week I will write. I will edit. I will post and get over this nervousness that happens from putting my brain-baby out into the world.
Posting a chapter that may need improvement is my patronus charm. It’s my way of repelling the dementors of doubt. And then, I might have some Nutella, because as we all know, chocolate makes the cold feelings disappear.