I have no idea what I am doing. These words have come to my mind more times than I can count. I wish that I could sit here and talk about how I felt a strong calling to being a writer and have had nothing but smooth sailing on this path. I also wish that I could say I had sold millions of books and had fans all over the world waiting for my next book to be written in the same way that I mark my calendar with publication dates of my favorite authors. I wish that, even without that level of success (yet), I could say I have no doubts or fears about achieving my goals. Obviously, I have doubts. It is an essential part of being human. Anybody that has no fear or doubt about what they are doing is somebody that most likely should be avoided. It is doubt and fear that often keeps us safe and helps us avoid doing something that is dangerous or simply stupid. So, as with most things in life, the key is to find the balance of doubt and confidence.
I admit that I really did not know what I was getting into when I started this path of wanting to write books for a living. OK, I still don't really know as much as I wish I did. To sit down and start to write a book can be a very scary endeavor. I don't care if you are writing a scholarly work of nonfiction or a story that you just can't shake out of your head, to write is to open yourself up and be vulnerable. The amount of thought, time, effort, and just soul that must put into the process of writing a book makes everything incredibly special and personal. Through the whole process of writing I was filled with doubt and questions about how others would interpret what I had written. Would they understand what I was saying? Would they think I was crazy for my views?
Those questions and fears multiplied at a great rate the second I typed the last words of the book. It was then finally time to show people the open wound of my effort in order to see if they would sew it back together with praise or rub salt in it by not liking what I had written. I am not just talking about the rejection letters from literary agents and publishers. Now, I won't lie and say that they didn't bother me, but they were expected. The real test was going to be when actual people read The Gospel of Adam. This is where I have experienced my greatest confidence boosts as well as the cause of my biggest doubts. Initially, everybody I knew simply said that they were proud of me for getting it done and congratulated me. This obviously made me feel very good. Much to my dismay, I quickly found out that not every congratulations being offered actually translates into spending money to purchase the book. I won't deny that it hurt to have friends and family not buy a copy or write a review to help spread the word, but that's just part of life. Instead I should focus on those who did buy the book and offer feedback. Everybody that has read the book and either written a review or talked to me in person has offered kind words and appreciation. Yes, it still bothers me that so many people chose not to help me out and that brings in more doubts about what I am trying to do. When that happens I try to think of the ones who did enjoy they book and encouraged me to keep writing.
That is my balance right now, doubt and then confidence. I hope that as I keep writing I will be able to navigate these fluctuations better. The only way to improve on that is to keep writing and working to get better. So, for those people who enjoyed The Gospel of Adam and want to see what I do for a second book, for those who didn't read my book, and for those who have never even heard of me: I am logging off now to get some writing in yet tonight. Until, Sarah's Savage Sleep is finished, just keep reading.