My entire life, I have suffered from an anxiety disorder. I have allowed it to hold me back in all aspects. Infinite improbably hypothetical situations and a crippling fear of failure combined to sabotage me applying for colleges, interviewing for jobs, walking out of toxic situations, reaching out to old friends, etc.
I have never met a writer who did not suffer anxiety in one form or another: What if someone hates it? What if nobody reads it? What if I get something wrong? What if it’s never ready? How am I going to market this? Why isn’t anyone reviewing it?
If that sounds familiar, you are not alone. Fortunately, this is a result of personal attachment and is 100% limited to yourself. The solution? Have a community. Although I already had a few readers, I found my community on Twitter. I can honestly say COLOSSUS would never have been published without this extensive network of cheerleaders, advisers, consultants, and distractions. I was able to find a small army of beta readers. Not knowing these people personally or intimately generally means they will be honest with you without trying to protect your feelings. They provided me with feedback that helped me polish my novel to near-perfect condition. They recommended an editor, Michael Keenan, who gave it the last run-down.
From this point, hugging the manuscript, a writer can pick it over eternally, until it loses its perfection, which leads me to my next point:
All writers need a push. They need one or two people who are more experienced and detached, to let you know when you are ready to let it go. It’s time to publish (if indie). It’s time to submit (if traditional).
After Stephen King wrote Carrie, he threw it in the trash. He gave up on it. His wife, Tabitha, pulled it out, brushed it off, and told him it was good; He was going to get it published. We all need someone like Tabitha King.
Mine came in the form of Stephen Moran of Moran Publishing. Since COLOSSUS was going to be his first publication that he had not written, he helped me cultivate it, then told me last November, “I really think it’s ready.” Everything was ready (except a few typos, which we caught later) – I just needed to take the plunge. And I did.
In the end, the key about anxiety is that it is, literally, all in our heads. We need to consult with someone else about what next steps to take – and listen to them. Cultivate a small army of beta reader (but that I mean four or five, preferably from diverse backgrounds), and if you get to the point where you think your manuscript is ready, but you’re not sure you want to commit, get someone who knows what they’re talking about to give you a second opinion, that little last push.
COLOSSUS is the first novel in the My Name Is Not Heather Stokes series. For more information, visit the Amazon page by clicking HERE.
Moran Publishing is a hybrid publishing house featuring dark literature and arthouse novels. For more about Moran Publishing, click HERE.
For more about my editor, Michael Keenan, click HERE.