The Ups and Downs of a Writer’s Life

When one emoji just doesn’t cut it!

I wanted to write a Facebook post to share my news, but FB limits you to just one of their “feeling” emojis, I needed a whole mess of smiley/frowny faces to convey  my emotions today, so I made my own:

Why all these contradictory feelings? Because Book 4 of The Imperfect Series – IMPERFECT LIES –  has been sent to the publisher! Because I’m relieved, thrilled, excited, worried, and depressed. Because instead of basking in the present, I’m worrying about what’s next.

Now, begins what I call the Cycle of Endless Emotional Extremes.

Relief is the first emotion an author feels after writing, “The End.”  It floods in and overwhelms. There’s nothing like having a weight lifted from your shoulders … unless it’s the feeling of accomplishment. Satisfaction is a rich pleasure. None of it lasts, though. It’s only a respite. There’s always the dreaded, what’s next? So human.

Mental fatigue is a very real thing. It’s debilitating and draining, every bit as much as physical fatigue. Sometimes authors are their own worst enemies with how we push ourselves. Remember that old saying, “I’m so tired I can’t think straight?” It’s true.

Euphoria waits for your brain to recover, and it’s a glorious feeling.  You ride the wave, let it take you all the way to the crest – happiness, joy, feeling so blessed and grateful. And then you crash.

Worry arrives. Guilt. “Did I miss a typo? Leave something out? Is it good enough? Did I do my best?” And the worst, “What if my readers don’t like it?”

Yikes! Self esteem takes a nose dive. Guilt. Inadequacy. Second guessing. Of them all, I hate  self doubt the most. Only authors and those closest to them understand the impact of this cycle.

The vast majority of books written are not autobiographies, but I’m here to testify that every writer invests a huge chunk of their inner self in the pages they pen. We put ourselves out there; expose our beliefs, hopes, thoughts, fears, likes, dislikes, and vulnerabilities. We bare our souls to perfect strangers. Normal people don’t do that when they walk in the world.

My point is, be gentle with us.  Be kind. Even if you “don’t like my book.” <smiling here>

Imperfect Lies made me delve deeper inside myself than I wanted. It made me think about things that are uncomfortable, about what I *hoped* I would do in a difficult situation vs. what I probably would do. How can anyone know with any degree of certainty what they would or wouldn’t do in a terrible, unforeseen, heretofore unknown situation?

Imperfect Lies made me think about a current school of thought that promotes role-play in response to an active shooter scenario – a practiced “what to do” response in the event an armed terrorist decided to shoot up the theater you’re in. The idea being that if your mind and body already know what to do before the incident, your decision-making process won’t get in the way when an instant response may mean the difference between life, injury, or even death. In other words, decisions take time –  time you may not have.

I can’t help but wonder, if we dwelled more on ALL of life’s ‘what would I do‘ scenarios and made our decisions beforehand, would we make better choices when confronted with those difficult and unexpected situations?

The title of this series is Imperfect for a reason. I wanted to provide an entertaining read with characters who reflect the way real people act and think and talk, who face real situations that challenge preconceived ideas of right and wrong; who look at the truth of who they are. And, of course, I want you to enjoy this journey that has brought me so many laughs and smiles and tears and heartache!

 

Happy reading!

 

 

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