This week I sent my book to my first set of readers. Fondly called my beta readers (spent way too much time working in software), they are the gift bearers, the soothsayers, and the God-makers. Well, not exactly, but their presence in my life right now is ginormous.
Writing a book is like a 12 step program. I’ve been through the denial/writing, anger/editing, and now with my beta readers, I’ve hit another emotional high that I hadn’t expected right away – anxiety.
It’s surprising how much anxiety you feel when you get to the point where you’re actually ready for someone to read your book. I mean you know you’re going to have some giddy anticipation mixed with a wee bit of apprehension, but I am surprised about how much I care about what they think.
“Ho, ho,” you might say. “You’re in for a doozey when the general public reads it and then gives you two stars for it on Amazon and then you’re trying to figure out if cyber-stalking M. Jones from Phoenix, Arizona – who gave you the two starts in the first place – is illegal.”
Yeah, I know, but somehow it’s easier to be dismissive of those people (someone’s going to take that the wrong way, I just know it – ed.) I think it’s harder to shrug off the criticism when it’s people you know and care about. I guess in some ways, they will be my strongest critics because they know me. Really understand who I am. Yet, somehow it doesn’t make it feel any better . . .
But it has to be done. You can’t live in a closet with your work. I mean you can, but where does it get you? We write for reasons. Each one is different. To be heard. To be validated. To expunge the demons. And the list goes on and on. Maybe part of that therapeutic process is the criticism. Maybe it’s what is required for the writing to feel whole, complete.
I dunno. All I do know is that it’s nerve-wracking waiting for my first feedback.
Here’s to counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds.