Exposure

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It’s been a stressful couple days. I spent Tuesday digging in to the polishing edit for the first two episodes of the novel then handed them off to my boyfriend, Matt, for his take on the changes. He is my First Reader Extraordinaire and his perspective is invaluable. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous about giving them to him for review.

Wednesday was Photoshop day. I fired up the program that morning figuring I would need a little time to reacclimate because it had been about a decade since I had used the program. I wanted to do such straightforward things, however, I was certain I would be able to bang out a decent cover in a couple hours. This was inaccurate. I thrashed around with menus and tools, losing my work four times, before Matt showed me one critical step I was missing. That was the turnaround point, but I still had hours of design work in front of me. By the end of the day, I had two versions of the cover to decide between and my back was a mass of pain from the stress.

I stomped around the apartment this morning in a sour mood. I was angry that I was still feeling so stressed and was continuing to obsess about small technical problems. I had finished revising two episodes of the novel and successfully wrestled with Photoshop to design two attractive covers. I should be celebrating. What was my problem? I should be happy to be so close to launching my first novel into the world. This should be fun, dammit.

Matt was confused about why I was angry with myself. He asked me what in my experience led me to believe that releasing my book would be fun for me. He said for you, writing the book was the fun part, not making it available for the public to fondle, criticize, or ignore. He had a point. I am most comfortable spending years on an art project, showing it to a handful of close friends, and then shuffling it off into a dusty closet never to be seen again.

It’s hard to put work out there and open yourself to that kind of exposure. It doesn’t matter how few followers you have on social media or the tiny number of readers you get on your website. Even making it possible for one person you don’t know to assess what you have created can be terrifying.

I’m going to try to be kind to myself over the next couple days. I need to remind myself that I don’t have to be having fun while I release the first episode, I just have to do it.

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