The storm today is allowing me some quiet time in my shed on the wharf. Normally, I’m in here busy with author interviews and promotional displays but today, my schedule is clear, and I’m taking some time to myself.
I’m reflecting on fear and envy and how it can leach the life blood out of you like some greedy vampire. For me, these two demons are sucking the life out my passion, writing. It’s holding me back, preventing me from moving forward and try to make something of this gift.
My dream to publish a novel came about at an early age when the writing bug first bit me at the tender age of eight. In my dream, I would publish a novel so great that I would become famous and revered. I wanted to become the next Danielle Steele(Don’t laugh she was popular when I was a teen) or Stephen King.
I kept that dream and never acted on it because I deep down I was ashamed of the stories I was weaving on paper. I was so embarrassed by this that my parents never knew I did it. Only my two best friends ever read those words scribbled in an exercise.
Then, at the age of 38, after submitting stories and getting nowhere, I heard about this thing called self-publishing and decided, shag it, I give it go and publish a book on my own. After months of hard work, I held that paperback copy with my name proudly displayed across the fetching cover and felt proud.
Now it was time to inform the readers of the world of my masterpiece. Once they found out about me, I will be famous in no time.
Heh. Hand me the tin foil and throw me in the rubber room b’ys because this newbie is having delusions of grandeur.
Reality hit me square in the eyes and laid me out flat. The few reviews I got were filled with constructive criticism on how the plot of the book had potential, but it was riddled with errors. Not seeing this as a learning experience and that I was damn lucky only to get constructive criticism considering the trolls that live under bridges of the internet, I was devastated. I wanted to throw the book in the fire and quit writing.
Being naive, I failed to obtain a proper editor to the book and realize that a good novel takes many, many drafts. Never publish the first draft. As a mentor told me once, the first draft is just crap from your head that you throw on the screen before cleaning and polishing it up into something respectable.
Three years later, lessons have been learned. I have since acquired an awesome editor(I looking at you Michelle Browne of http://magpieediting.com) who has taught me so much about the writing process and how to be proud of my work. I also have a ridiculously fabulous gifted graphic designer who has designed everything for me. From the cover of my books to my website: http://www.tinatraverse.com. Ida Jansson(http://www.amygdaladesign.net) is the best in my books.
My fan base is tiny, but I have a huge circle of support which I believe is essential for a writer.
The other monster lurking in the shadows is green and feeds me doses of envy. She is sly and only feeds me small doses at a time, but it adds up.
I created this blog and persona along with my crazy group of mates I call the Back of the Shed Gang to promote primarily other authors.
I love promoting my fellow authors and am humbled by the many gifted writers who have graced this blog.
Every once and while, when I see a new traditionally published author get attention for the same genre of book that I’d written, the monster piles on the envy until I choke on it.
Never mind that my book was marketed in a unique way. I mean how many of you have had nuns stop people passing by at a flea market and tout how amazing the book is? Or have a celebrity promote the book on her fan page?
I looked right past all that goodness and sat and seethed at the unfairness of it all.
I stewed in jealously and proclaimed of how easy traditionally published authors have it over self-published authors.
So, why haven’t I gotten past this jealously and gotten off my arse and do something to make my voice heard? To join the ranks of my fellow indie authors whose hard work and diligence have made them as successful or more successful than a traditionally published writer?
I’m scared senseless by the fear of getting my name out there. I have grown as a storyteller, and my confidence in my work is increasing, but somewhere deep inside is a petrified little girl too scared and ashamed of the words she has written on paper.
I have to get past that fear but for now it holds me hostage.