Sometimes I truly believe the most difficult part of writing is what comes after the writing. I spent years being afraid of the actual process of writing my book. I would allow my anxiety to cause horrible writer's block. I would make up excuse after excuse as to why it wasn't the right time to work on it or I would get to it just as soon as I finished some other unnecessary project. Followthrough has never exactly been my strong point.
Being totally honest my biggest fear for many years was that I actually could complete the book and that it might even do well. Why would that be a fear? Why would I run from success? Because I was concerned it was the only story I had inside me. What if I created a story that was readable, relatable and interesting but then when people actually showed interest in my work I was never able to follow it up with anything?
As time has gone on and I have published my debut novel, obviously not to the immediate and resounding success we all dream of but it is out there and still getting attention from time to time, I have moved past the concerns of only one story. I have another two and a half full length novels written and I know the rest of the one in the works it is just a matter of getting it down on paper. I have discovered things about not only my characters but myself as a writer. Many times when we open up to share personal things, both good an bad, our characters do the same and we are able to open to to sharing their stories across genres we never thought we would even try to write.
So now that I have accepted and am working hard to improve on the writing side what could possibly hold me back? How about the overwhelming amount of work that came after the initial work? Starting first with the editing and revising stage. This may be one of the most difficult parts and currently I find myself at the beginning steps of this painful, tedious process. You have to objectively look at your own work and tear it apart. things need to be removed, added even redone entirely. Why does this character make that comment when it fits the personality of that character so much better? How did they travel from here to there with no transition? Why did I even include the monkey? you get the idea. It is frustrating to have to destroy your baby but you remind yourself it is for the greater good.
Once the book has been revised, and you have poured your heart and soul back into it you have to do the unthinkable, send it out for beta readers to tear it apart again. You get the feedback and grab the fresh half gallon of ice cream from the freezer. After you eat yourself happy again you make the last changes suggested. Now you are done right? Wrong. Now comes the most terrifying part of all. Either self publish and put your baby out there for the indifferent general public and hope they like it giving you good reviews and telling their friends about it or submit to agents and traditional publishers.
If you self publish you are now in control of the promotions and get to field the praise as well as the critiques of the readers. You put yourself on the page, hit publish then laugh with the lovers and cry from the haters of your work. You call around for signings, attend shows and festivals, tweet and update Facebook endlessly and if you are even more technically adept than I am you keep your website updated as well. Or you can submit to agents and publishers hoping for a traditional publishing contract. This opens you up to the constant rejections and denial form letters that we can all laugh off publicly but in private we take a shot for confidence.
When I first got into performing and modeling they warned me about the level of rejection in those industries but they never tell you how much that can travel with you to other aspects of your life. Being a writer comes with its fair share of rejection but you put on a smile, grow a slightly thicker skin and keep pushing on. If this is your passion like it is mine than be brave, face the rejection fears and keep driving toward your own success.