Yesterday, I clicked a button and just like that I was assigned an ISBN and an ISBN-13 for my book.
As I get closer and closer to publication, I’ve been getting more anxious about the reality of it. About knowing people will read – and judge – my work. And judge me. Honestly, it scares me, makes me feel vulnerable and nauseated.
I have all these fears. Will people think it’s an autobiographical book or that I wish it were? (It’s not and I don’t.) Will people think it’s crap? (That’s for each person to decide, I guess.) Will people wonder WTF I was thinking when I decided this book was ready for publication? Doesn’t Pam know that first novels are not meant to be published? That authors are supposed to sweat and anguish and then put the fruits of their first labors high on a shelf in a back closet, never to be seen again? That we are not supposed to foist our initial efforts onto the world? That if my novel were worthy, an agent would have accepted it – and me?
As you know if you’ve been following me, because I’ve posted this talk about a million times, not too long ago I came across Brene Brown‘s brilliant TED talk on vulnerability. In it, she says about children: “They’re hard wired for struggle when they get here. When you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, ‘Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is to keep her perfect, make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.’ That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, ‘You know what, you’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.’ That’s our job.”
That’s how I feel about my book. It’s imperfect, but it’s worthy of being out in the world. It may not solve world peace (Okay, it won’t solve world peace. For sure.). It may not get a prize. It may not get critical acclaim. But those things are not its role in this world. Its role is simply to be a fun, light book that I hope people enjoy.
I’ve spent far too much of my life worrying about not being good enough. The fact that I’m writing this post means that I obviously am still not over it – I still feel the need to justify myself and my imperfections, to let you know that I know the book isn’t perfect and I agree and you don’t have to tell me. But I’m putting the work out there, imperfect as it may be, regardless of whether it’s good enough, and that’s a start.
And to my wee book, being born unto the world: You are imperfect, but you are worthy, and I love you.