I got the proof copy of my first book the other day, and I can't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. I was a bundle of nervous energy as I opened the package, even though I knew exactly what I was going to see. It was still amazing, seeing that cover staring back at me. It's one thing to know you've written a book, to know that you've spent the time and energy to bring something life, but it's another thing to see it physically, to touch it, pick it up, smell the print, to feel the grain of the pages, pages filled with your words. It's a liberating feeling, as if the world is yours. It's also terrifying.
It's scary to realize you're putting yourself out there. This wasn't supposed to be my first book. I had another one ready to go, but I decided to go with this one first. It was the more personal of the two, and I felt it was the better of the two, better in that the audience could connect with a book about a personal journey better than with an action adventure. So I went with this one first. Being as it is more personal though, there's a sense of nakedness now. Writing has a way of showing more about the author than they necessarily mean to show, and that's never more true than when they write something heartfelt. I've posted work on the internet for years, but there's always a certain anonymity to that, one that I feel like you lose when you put something physical into the world. It's a scary feeling, realizing you've poured your heart and soul onto a page that someone might quickly dismiss.
But I've also come to realize that to even put something out to the general public takes two things: thick skin and big brass balls. Writers seem to have a strange dichotomy, feeling like their work is better than some others, while secretly thinking their work is shit. To step out and put something before people takes courage, and the ability to shrug off the naysayers, to silently stand the negative reviews and comments.
I'm hoping I have enough of both.