Monday, February 09, 2015

Here comes the fear again. . .

Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy
Tearing me apart like a new emotion
--From "Here comes the rain again" by the Eurythmics

Apologies to Annie Lenox - today this is running through my head with a slight change. . . Here comes the fear again.

Tomorrow I have a book release. I have done everything within my power to make TIME AND TITHE a strong book: multiple drafts, beta readers, revisions, professional editing, professional cover art, careful formatting and typography. I am proud of this story.

I am proud of this story.

I am proud of the publishing imprint I created and the professional product I am able to produce.

I am excited to have this book find its readers.

And I am afraid that it won't.

This is part and parcel of being an artist. Fear lives side by side with the ecstasy of creation. 

I've hardly ever begun a year with a gloomier aspect, in a gloomier mood, and I do not expect any future of success, but a future of strife.

In the same way, in the matter of art, the problem, “Am I an artist or am I not?” must not induce us not to draw or not to paint. Many things defy definition, and I consider it wrong to fritter one's time away on them. Certainly when one's work does not go smoothly and one is checked by difficulties, one gets bogged in the morass of such thoughts and insoluble problems. And because one feels sorely troubled by it, the best thing to do is to conquer the cause of the distraction by acquiring a new insight into the practical part of the work.
From the letters of Van Gogh

I am a writer. I have always know this; it just took me until my 40s to understand that no matter what else I did in my life, that was my 'true north.' Years ago, when I was struggling to find an agent, a friend asked me if I would continue to write even if no one read my books. It was a question I had to give a lot of thought to. Would I write? Yes. After all, I have kept a journal and written poetry since I was a child with little to no expectation that those words would be shared. Would I write novels? Maybe not.

There is a difference between pure self-expression and creating art. For me, art is a constructivist process; it is not complete until it is received, until the reader (in the case of stories) makes a very personal connection to the work and finds their own meaning in it.

So, for me, a book that is not read has failed in its mission.

Which brings me back to the fear. What if no one reads TIME AND TITHE? What if it quietly sinks into obscurity like so many books that are published to a handful of sales and then nothing? Of the three (soon to be four) novels I have published, one has become successful - that is, it found a large readership of passionate readers, so I know the thrill of closing that loop between artist and audience. It's like a drug high. And I desperately want it again. I want my stories and my characters to matter to people. I want to share the ecstasy of creation, as readers discover something that speaks to them in what I have written.

The fear that it won't is a terrible companion. 

Part of writing this post was an exercise in banishing those demons - shining light on them and naming them in a way to rob them of their power.

And as an act of defiance, I will write today. I will write tomorrow. And the next day. 

TIME AND TITHE is available now for pre-order and will be available for purchase on Tuesday, February 10th.


  1. Oh wow, does this post resonate with me. No matter how many times I hit publish or submit, it's always nerve-racking.

    I know I'd still write novels because that's what I started with. My first novel was written because I couldn't find any fantasy novels that hit a particular spot. I read it all by myself several times, fixing things, changing things, and only stuck it online somewhere because I was trying to improve my writing in general. I was under the impression I could make money at it. :)

    Good luck on your launch!

    1. Thank you, Amy. I need to refocus on my novel in progress, but I've been a distracted mess today. :) Tomorrow will be better.