This is how my horoscope started this morning:
Even if your life seems to be unfolding as planned, you still aren’t sure that you should trust the good news.
Sometimes my horoscopes are amusingly spot-on.
I mentioned it on Twitter which started a conversation with a longtime writer friend, Alexis Kienlen, about feeling overwhelmed by this whole publication process and fear and anxiety and how people don’t seem to talk about that part of it much.
I said I’d blog about it, so here we go.
I was lucky enough to know a few people who had been on this publication ride before, so the fact that success feels so much like nausea did not come as a complete surprise, even though the practical advice was often hard to focus on with all the head-spinning.
But it hasn’t worn off. It’s mostly gotten worse.
I am still overwhelmed. I keep waiting to get back down to whelmed, but that does not seem to be happening.
I didn’t really expect that after your wildest dreams come true you end up in this post-dream land that just keeps going and there is an extreme lack of informative signage to direct the way forward and you can’t really go back.
And I keep thinking to myself, I don’t know what I’m doing here.
All I did was write a book.
Remember this post? Yeah, I’m still there, expecting to be mauled or stabbed or something. I have good days and I have not-so-good days and I spend a great deal of time wanting to crawl under my desk and cry.
To date, I have not yet crawled under the desk. I’ve cried a lot, but I’m a crier anyway.
I find it surprisingly difficult to react with equal enthusiasm when someone says to me “this is so Exciting!” because it is Exciting but it’s also kind of Terrifying and in my head, Terrifying usually wins out because Exciting tires easily.
I said in that post from way back in September that the best thing I can do is be honest.
So this is me being honest.
Today there is only a sad snowball worth of snow left by the tree outside my window. There is a fluffy kitten curled up in between my scanner and my printer because she seems to find that comfortable. I have half a cup of slowly cooling coffee on my desk and all my Arcade Fire albums on repeat.
I have two Scrivener documents open, one with tomorrow’s flax-golden tale which needs one more sentence and a title, and the other with what appears to be my next novel. I am simultaneously in love with this not-quite-novel-yet and petrified that it will not be as good as the circus because it is very, very different. It’s glass where the circus is paper. It needs more plot.
I am starting to get responses from readers with advance copies of THE NIGHT CIRCUS and they are amazing and delightful and they mean more to me than I can express properly. There should be better ways to say thank you.
I feel like there are a million things I am supposed to be doing but I don’t know what they are so I end up confused and anxious rather frequently.
I had a mild panic attack the other day just trying to make dinner reservations. I am still upset about last night’s Top Chef elimination.
I am wondering to myself why I feel the need to inform the internet that I’m scared, but I do.
And I feel like I need to resist the urge to fold my life back up again. Just a little.
The aforementioned horoscope for today ends with:
make a choice and then take a few healthy steps in the direction you want to go.
Still working on that. But I have new shoes. That should help.
alexis · March 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Thank you for writing about this. And if you need to vent in a more private spot, you can always send me an email.
I’ve got your back.
erin · March 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm
You’re welcome & thank you right back. Will definitely e-mail. (Keeping up with e-mail is currently falling under that umbrella of a million things I should be doing.)
Kelly Andrews · March 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Hugs, Erin. This is a healthy step.
And yeah, I was shocked that they got rid of Carla too. Grrr. And they had to remind us about Hosea!
erin · March 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Thank you, pumpkin.
She was my favorite! I “Noooooooo!!!”ed out loud at the tv. Sigh.
Other Lisa · March 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm
I tell myself I’ve gotten used to it, and I have, for the most part, but I still have these moments where a writing announcement thing happens — the other day, it was a PW deal thing about my “untitled sophomore effort” and it was the weirdest moment. I liken it to when you look through binoculars and before they’re focused, you see two images of the same thing. That’s how I feel sometimes, like there’s me, and public author —and I’m not even that well-known! I just sort of have to wait for the two selves to refocus again and be one person.
erin · March 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm
I think it’s still weird for me because that second self is still mostly an idea that I haven’t had to be a whole lot yet.
And I like the term “untitled sophomore effort” because “effort” makes it sound like you really worked at it.
Other Lisa · March 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm
Heh! I think I just threw the “effort” in there, because it was. It was actually “untitled sophomore novel.” Which begs the question: when do I graduate?
And, yeah. It only gets weirder. But it seems to me you’re already getting that sense of “you as a product.” It’s…disconcerting, to say the least.
Alison · March 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well” my dear. I’m always here if you need me, remember that. xx
PS: Can’t WAIT for Monday!
erin · March 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm
Aw, thank you. I should mention that I am a lucky, lucky girl for a multitude of reasons, even when I want to hide under my desk.
Also, YAY! So excited. I feel like the circus is in town.
Shveta Thakrar · March 11, 2011 at 8:05 am
These are my favorite posts by you, the ones where you tell your truth. Thank you for that.
Also, feel free to vent to me anytime, whether it’s excitement or terror. All is welcome. 🙂
erin · March 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm
You are welcome!
(Though I always assume everyone’s favorite posts are the ones with pictures of kittens.)
carey farrell · March 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm
Thanks for sharing this, erin. It’s easy for someone like me, who’s in the very beginning of this process, to believe that everything gets magically better, and magically settled, once that book deal finally happens. I hope the surreality and overwhelm settle down soon so you can enjoy this adventure, but maybe that’s a silly thing to expect of surreality and overwhelm. 🙂
erin · March 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm
In my experience, each level brings its own weird along with it.
And I suspect it’ll end up being a matter of letting the surreality become the new reality.
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