How do I handle the emotional challenges of being an author?
I came across this question and it made me stop and think. You know, way back when I published my first book, I honestly hadn’t a clue. I just thought it was cool. Somebody actually thought enough of my little book to want to publish it. How awesome is that? Self promotion you say? Wait…what is that? Ohhhh, you mean I have to put myself out there now. As in talk to people. Pimp myself. Ruh-oh, Raggy.
So for me, the biggest emotional challenge…is self promotion. I’m my own worst enemy. There’s a little voice inside of me that says, on a constant basis, “You’re a nobody and you’ll always be a nobody.” And no, I’m not saying that to gain sympathy, but just to show you how I get from where I am to where I end up.
I’ll fully admit I’m flying blind with self promotion. I’m a shy introvert in a social world. Give me a good book or a sappy movie and a cup of tea and I’m happy. As an author and a writer, I spend 90% of my day alone, and you know what? I’m perfectly content with that. I was an only child to a single mother, who had to work sometimes 60 hours a week to barely make ends meet. I spent a LOT of time alone as a kid. I was what they used to call a “latchkey kid.” I’d come home from school, let myself in, and stay alone until my mother got home at 7. She could barely afford rent, let alone daycare, and we didn’t live near family.
Spending all that time alone makes me my own best friend. I really don’t mind being alone. I actually have to force myself to be social or you’ll find me holding up a wall somewhere. But being social does not come easily for me. The hardest thing I’ve encountered as an author? Is not letting those negative self-doubts eat me alive. It can be a killer. I tend toward depression and a single not-so-glowing review can sink me for days.
So how do I deal with the emotional challenges of this job? Honestly? I let myself feel the pain for a couple of hours, because I’m one of those who holds stuff in until it’s no longer healthy. So, I let myself feel it. That’s not easy, by the way. It’s far easier for me to deny the emotion, shove it down, and let it eat away at me.
Then I get back up and dust myself off. Because above all things, I am a survivor. I can do anything, and the only person stopping me is ME. So, I let whatever it is that’s got me down (lack of sales, currently) fuel me. It fuels that desire to keep trucking forward. You see, I have a dream. I know where I’m going and I know I’ll get there one day. So that emotional challenge ends up giving me a great big kick in the keester.
And yes. I am one of those annoying positive people. At least, I try to be. And only because I’ve seen the darkness that is depression. I have swirled that dark drain and clawed my way out of it, and I’ll never go there again. Ever. Staying positive helps. It means people roll their eyes at me, though. ;)
What about you. How do you deal with emotional challenges?