Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group - May

I shared yesterday that I've finished the major writing and editing on my first-ever novel. Now it's being copy-edited. I'm not expecting any more major re-writing needs. When I knew I was done, fear reared it's ugly head and I found myself on a the biggest self-doubt, self-hate trip I've been on in a very long time. My friend and editor said, "Of course you're scared. You're about to launch your baby into the world."

I touched on this in yesterday's post. No one who hasn't written or tried to write a novel can understand the feeling. I was crying when I got into bed that night and my husband said, "Can you just celebrate the fact that you did it. You wrote a novel. How many people can say that?"

I couldn't. Because so much effort has gone into making this a reality for the past 7 years, that it isn't enough for me to just say, "I did it." I have to get it out there. And that's the fear. Is it good enough? Will anyone want to read it? If they read it, will they like it? Yada yada yada.

Then I got sick. I was exhausted, so it doesn't surprise me. I pushed so hard those last few weeks of April, working day and night to meet my goal. There's also an empty hole once you complete a big project. That hole will be filled with the work needed to bring this book to publication, but for now, it's just empty space.

I know this community will support me and help ease my fears as I enter this next phase of the project. Thank God for Alex's vision of creating this support group. Thank you, Alex. To find others in this group, please visit Alex at http://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com

22 comments:

authorcgcoppola.com said...

(I think) I know how you feel. Right before I'm about to publish something (book or blog post) I get this super sick feeling like that little devil is sitting on my shoulder saying, "really? You want to release THAT into the world? You should be ashamed." It's terrifying. Completely terrifying. And then, when it's been out in the world, I'll get sudden panic attacks and think "I can't believe everyone's secretly laughing at me!" Because that's what everyone's doing - laughing.

Except they're not. And it's all in your head. But I empathize! It's a crazy, scary process but you're not alone!! And if you want to avoid that sudden hole, trying writing something else. Get to work on another baby you'll have to release and go through the cycle all over again.

Wow. That was a long comment. But congrats on writing a novel! In the words of your hubs "you did it!"

Karen Walker said...

Big sigh here. Thanks for "getting" it, rcg

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's a hole we dig for ourselves as we just keep piling on more worries. Focus on the little steps it will take to get you to your goal of a published book.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I was so afraid when I sent out my first book. I still feel that way to some degree. You never know how it will work out. The best advice I ever received was to start the next book and stop worrying about the one before.

SittieCates said...

Your husband's right. You WROTE a novel! That's a huge accomplishment. Next step is getting it out there. I understand that you're feeling a little insecure about it. That's normal. But I'm with L.Diane: "Focus on the little steps..." And also look for things that will help make you a little happier, a little less insecure. Wishing you lots of luck with your book!

Chrys Fey said...

There's nothing scarier than publishing a book. I've only published short eBooks and I was extremely frightened when my first two came out.

I get sick when I push myself too much too. I hope you're feeling better and that some of that fear as dissipated. :)

Karen Walker said...

Diane, good advice, thanks.
Susan, yeah, I think it's normal to feel this way.
SittieCates, Yes, I think I need to pay more attention to what he says, he's very wise. Thanks
Chrys, I'm much better - thanks for asking.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Well done you for completing a novel, when you recover, push on with the next!

Julie Flanders said...

I am still scared to death to open emails I get back from editors. Every single time I go through a whole litany in my head about how they surely hated it, laughed at my incompetence, etc. I can understand how you are struggling with fear right now.
But what an accomplishment to finish the novel!! Congratulations and try to reward yourself for a job well done.

Arlee Bird said...

Just saying you did it is something, but I agree that it's not enough. Just to do it for your own satisfaction and sticking a manuscript in a drawer is like never really having done it. Once it's written you've got to keep moving on to the next step.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host

Tossing It Out

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't make yourself sick! It will be all right.

Robin said...

It's terrifying releasing something so extremely personal into the world and then awaiting the judgment. Will they like it? Will they hate it? Because it feels like they are judging YOU. Liking YOU. Hating YOU. Heck, I felt this fear when I sent my book out to CPs. It was freakin' terrifying. And, no, it's not enough that you wrote it.

But just writing it is worth celebrating. We must celebrate each step of the journey. So raise a glass you. You put seven years into this and you didn't quit. Whether the world loves or hates it is irrelevant to this point of your success. You did what so many other people never do... YOU FINISHED. That is a milestone.

Karen Walker said...

Carole Ann, oh God, the next? Oy!
Julie, thanks so much - I'm trying...
Lee, yeah, that's exactly how I feel.
Alex, it wasn't conscious, believe me!
Robin, you're right. Must remember this.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It takes me a couple of months after I finish a novel to settle down enough to start something new. It's hard to pry yourself away from the world you've created - but now it's time for other people to read it. Well done! Your husband is right, it's a massive achievement :-)

Suzanne Furness said...

Writing a novel is a huge achievement and should be celebrated. I do know how you feel though, I share similar anxieties. I wish you every success on the next step of your publication journey. We are all behind you.

M Pax said...

I get it and get all the doubts that go with it. I think it's something all creatives go through. Mostly, major congrats on getting to this point. Woot!

Tonja said...

It feels a lot like postpartum depression I think.

Congratulations on getting it done. You should celebrate it even if you don't feel like it. You deserve it. :)

Nicki Elson said...

I'm with your husband on this one -- take some time just to celebrate it! There will be plenty of time for fear and doubt and anxiety to set in when it releases. The stage between finishing & releasing is usually like the honeymoon for me. Just me & my story & no worries about what the rest of the world might think.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's a scary feeling for sure. Even now I still worry about my "babies" being bullied out there in the online review world. Truth is, it's really not as rough out there as it sometimes seems. Hugs to you!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I love your husband's comment!!! I've got to remind myself of that very thing whenever I finish a book, and to especially remind myself that reviews, sales, numbers are another area entirely and really out of my control. Otherwise I'd go crazy.

Ann Best said...

Hi, dear friend. I just saw your comment on Karen Gowen's blog, about protecting time and energy. I'm with you on that! I do, also, think you should say, as your husband did, "I did it." I for one am looking forward to reading it!! And, if I weren't getting so old, as my daughter would say, I could look forward to seeing you in Albuquerque. My son, who lost his job here in the D.C. area Feb. 20th, found a wonderful one with SAIC there in Albuquerque, the place where he served a church mission and baptized his wife. Don't know where they'll end up in relation to you and your husband, but that's where he'll be. Her parents are in Tijeras.... I'll be thinking of all of you out there in the desert! We're sad for us, but happy for them!!!

And happy for you. I'll bet this novel is going to be excellent. Your memoir was!!!

LD Masterson said...

I understand what you're feeling, to have put so much of yourself into something and then have to face all those scary possibilities. Try to remember, you have all those other possibilities, too. That people will read your baby and love it. Those possibilities begin when you send it out there. Have faith.