Monday, March 30, 2015

Another Kind of Terrifying

I just quit my day job.

That is a simple enough sentence, but the implications behind it are life-changing, at least for me. The rest of that sentence, the thing that makes it both life-changing and terrifying, is this add-on clause: I just quit my day job to become a full-time writer. Even just re-reading that is enough to chill me deep down in my gut.

While it is true that I have been writing since, oh, maybe third grade, and while it is also true that I have had my work published by an actual publishing company as well as on my own, I still struggle everyday with the idea that I am a writer. It's almost as if admitting the idea, especially out loud, is enough to call down the wrath of the gods. And I don't know why that is.

So here I am, terrified, and STILL working on book 3 of the Bridgeton Park Cemetery series, although I think I'm finally on the right track. I hope. Fingers and toes crossed. Especially since I just quit my day job.

Somewhere around the time that Saving Jake hit the open market, I realized that my personal demons are that 1) I will never figure out my current novel's storyline and 2) even if I do, no one's ever going to want to read it. Wondering if I was the only one to have those kinds of fears, I started becoming interested in other writers' demons.I started paying attention to what some big-name writers have said about their own processes. 

One of them (I'll give you a couple of hints: probably the biggest name in horror fiction, and lives in Maine) once compared writing a book to storming a castle that has the drawbridge down, no archers in the windows, and a completely open and unattended appearance. I didn't know exactly what he meant until I started storming that castle on a regular basis and wound up face down in the moat more than once.

Another house-hold name writer who spoke at a conference I attended admitted that he worries he will never get past page 40. What he meant was that he feared his current work would play out within 40 pages and he wouldn't have anything else to add to it. Considering he puts out a (full-length) best-seller every year, I can understand how that would be worrisome for him.

I think part of my problem is that when I think of the word "writer," I think of these two authors, or others much like them. Applying that same title to me feels, in my own head, rather like foolish self-aggrandization bordering on blasphemy. And yet it must be true, because I just quit my day job (did I mention that already?) to do this full-time. 

So I guess it's time to try to shove my demons back into their little closet, study the wisdom and forbearance of my writing idols who sit themselves down and gift us all with their work, and give this a real try, terrifying or not. I do have supporters in this endeavor. My husband, God bless him, is my bulwark and my anchor and believes in me when I don't believe in myself. My friends who understand what I am trying to do are wonderful cheerleaders. And you readers, who have taken time to buy and read my work, even posting reviews or dropping me an email, comprise a lot of the drive that keeps me going.

Time to take that keyboard in hand and have at it. After all, I guess if this doesn't work out, I can always get another day job.