My autonomic nervous system works as though I live in an episode of the Walking Dead. I am in a near-constant state of fight or flight.
OK, I lied, just flight. It’s all flight. If the phone rings or someone knocks on the door, I jump, then hide under the bed. I actually keep my phone ringer because hearing it ring can cause a mini-panic attack.
I have a debilitatingly bad sense of direction. (I’m convinced I have disorder that causes me to get lost called Topical Disorientation.) So, if I need to drive someplace out of my familiar haunts, I worry about it for at least a week in advance.
I just served jury duty. In the weeks between the summons and the date of my duty, I panicked every time I saw the notice on the fridge. My terror had nothing to do with whether or not I would be picked (I was) and everything to do with getting to the courthouse and parking and being there on time.
Whenever I travel, I dream about missing my flights or not being able to park or missing an exit to the airport, even though I’ve been there a hundred times. I’m not at all afraid to fly.
See that? I’m not afraid of dying, just of having my spirit hurt or killed.
When I first published my book, I was terrified. Then, a remarkable thing happened: Nothing.
I didn’t do any kind of marketing, and my book stayed hidden in the shadows where it would be safe.
I realized shortly after that I published too soon. It needed cutting, editing, a better title, a better cover. I decided I would do all that, then market. Except…I didn’t. I wrote more. I blogged more. I dragged my feet.
Writing isn’t (necessarily) hard. People write to get out what they need to say. For me, the process of writing my first book was almost 100% pleasure. It was a joyride. And the result is so precious to me. Like everyone else who writes, I feel like these words and characters are part of my soul. And now it exists in the same world with people who are unabashedly, proudly and terribly mean.
What will happen to my spirit when it gets battered by these meanies? What will happen if it’s not battered but simply greeted with apathy?
Maybe that’s what I need, to let the worst happen and see how I am afterward. Maybe I’ll get spirit calluses. Maybe my spirit will do surprising and lovely things if I let it experience this, like a tree on a windswept landscape. What if my spirit has a blue sapphire heart that can only shine when the silvery outside is worn off? It’s possible, I suppose. But oh how scary.
Well, I finally made myself pick up my feet and stop making excuses and inviting distractions. My book is done. It is cut, re-edited, retitled, recovered (thank you Lori Follett), and republished.
Here it is, available on Amazon and here on Amazon UK, soon to be available in paperback. (No really! Soon – it’s formatted and saved to PDF, I’m just waiting my full wrap cover from my amazing cover artist.)
Now, off to market it. Time to drag it out of the shadows and see what it and my spirit can survive.
Wish me luck!
P.S. Other things I fear:
Zombies (as aforesaid)