Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It, Please.

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There was a time in my not-so-long-ago past when I wept without shame on an airplane, terrified to the point that a stranger (bless her heart, I’m so grateful to her to this day!) held my hand across the aisle to comfort me until we began to descend and I calmed down. Was this a horrifically turbulent flight across the Atlantic? Hardly. It was 45 minutes from Austin to Dallas. No bumps. It might have been cloudy, which probably hurled me into the panic attack in the first place. And I was on Xanax, people.

I’ve come a long way. If that same woman saw me now, she would beam with pride. Hey, I’ve flown to Hawaii since then – sans Xanax! Yes, I was nervous, but I acted like I wasn’t. That’s the key. You just have to fake yourself out – tell yourself you are a pro. Put your head up and walk right in there like you’ve done it a million times. Eliminate any doubts that pop up immediately – SQAUSH! Because you don’t have doubts, you’re a PRO. Stewardess, can I have a pillow? Me sleepy – YAWN.

My point is, sometimes I require hand holding.

Which brings me to the now. I have a finished novel. For two years it’s been my WIP, and now WTF? I’ll tell you WTF. An OCEAN of information. An ocean in which I am a drop of water. The good news? I have found writers to be the most generous and supportive people on the planet, and I’m not just sayin’ that. I have connected with dozens of dynamic, talented, brave, amazing writers who are now my lighthouses. And they just keep comin’. I’m beyond grateful.

After two years of researching the subject, I’ve decided to self-publish. It’s A LOT of work (no matter which publishing route you take) but I’m determined to put the best possible product out there. I want it to be a labor of love, a collaborative effort with a team of people to help me with the stuff I can’t do (professionally edit, cover design, etc.) and I have a lot to learn along the way. But I have a plan…

BABY STEPS.

If I look at the big picture I’ll end up on the floor in the fetal position hyperventilating in a puddle of my own drool. So I’ll take one step at a time. Right now I’m revising and shopping editors. That’s IT. I’m not allowed to think about anything beyond that. I can read about the beyond all I want; I can flag links about formatting, or cover design, or whatever… but I can’t DO. I won’t dilute the quality of what I’m doing now with stress about the future.

I’m going to stick my head up and walk right into this process, baby step by baby step, and if I get confused or overwhelmed – and I will – I know I have an incredible community around me to light the way, or maybe even hold my hand for a little while.

21 comments

  1. Can’t wait to read your book, Beth. And, no worries, we still consider ourselves green and we’re continuously learning new things every day about this crazy literary world. Our third series, New Salem Chronicles, took a lot research as well and it was actually the first book Mathair and I ever wrote together. It’s due out in the spring and though we’re very proud of it; the required leg work makes the release that much more nerve wracking. Congratulations to you and we wish you all the success in the world. πŸ™‚ Sharing your wonderful post as we speak.

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  2. Well, your book is literally (and you know I don’t use that word unless it applies) one of the best I’ve read this year. (Am I allowed to say that? If not, delete this comment.) Take the baby steps you need to take to get it out there. The literary world will thank you!

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    1. Uh…yeah you’re allowed to say that! You’re a beta reader so you’re an authority on the subject-o-mybook! Am I allowed to print your comment onto one of those airplane banners and fly it AROUND THE EARTH?!??
      THANK YOU. You rock my world, srysly.

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  3. Congratulations on finishing your first novel! I get how you feel; though I haven’t finished my novel yet, I’ve already done research on publishing, and it does seem pretty overwhelming. I wish you all the luck in the world in getting your book out there! I’m interested to read it someday! πŸ˜‰

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  4. Congratulations on finishing you’re book, Beth! It is an amazing feeling, followed by a lot of stress, but it seems like you have your feet firmly on the ground. Taking baby steps is definitely a good idea. I am working on publishing an eBook and baby steps are important, although I can never stop myself from planning ahead. πŸ˜‰

    I am here if you ever need a hand to hold. And I can’t wait to read your book! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Chrys! I’m relieved to know you’re going through the process now…I’m pretty sure you’ll be holding my hand in the future. haha! Thanks so much for your support! I’m thrilled to be a part of the She Writes community, and I appreciate the warm welcome. πŸ™‚

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  5. You’ve inspired me with this post. I too have been working on a book. I finished the draft and NOW I’m doing the painful process of re-writes. Been doing them a while. I need to take baby steps on a daily basis. Thank you for this post. I bookmarked this post so I may come back to it from time to time as a reminder of what I must do.

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    1. First, congrats on finishing your draft! That’s a HUGE accomplishment. Yes, sounds like we’re in the same boat. I’m honored that this post helped you in any way. I think as writers we often feel rushed to produce a published work, when we need to remember to give the work the time it needs to “grow up” properly and go through all its stages. Hang in there, girl. We can hold each others hands. πŸ™‚

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  6. Woops! I JUST saw this comment of yours Lafemme! Sorry! Funny you should ask that since I’m working on my blurb right now! So, instead of butchering that answer, I will save it and do it justice with a KICK-ASS blurb as soon as I complete it!! Stay tuned…. πŸ™‚

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    1. Well, it’s still in process! I’m taking forever on my rewrites. UGH. I had it editing last Fall and didn’t really start on rewrites until the first of the year. I’m sort of swimming in self-doubt at the moment. Editing is HARD. I’ve contacted a cover designer. Working on my blurb. Trying to wrap it up. But it’s A LOT.

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