*Written the day after I made my book available for purchase by those who agreed to do reviews, but I had not yet made the “official” release.
The first person to ever read my book was my editor, Jamie. When I emailed the first 20 pages over to her to see if she’d take the job I was terrified. She e-mailed me right back before she ever read a word and said something I needed to hear at the time that has stuck with me: Letting someone read your work is like allowing them to poke around in your underwear drawer.
She was totally on point. That was EXACTLY what it felt like. Knowing that she understood so deeply was a tremendous comfort. It has carried me through the criticism and red marks and many drafts since.
Because I remember that’s what it felt like when only ONE person had my book in their hands, I imagined this day as being one in which I would be pacing the house, watching TV while jogging in place, or possibly throwing up.
But it’s not! It’s thrilling! I’ve never been skydiving but I imagine it’s like that. Scary as heck right before you make the leap and nothing but exhilarating as soon as you begin the dive toward the earth. I’m too preoccupied with the wind in my face and the absolute abandon of the free-fall to care about anything else.
I do not think I have ever felt more comfortable exposing my proverbial underwear drawer.
Can I be completely honest? I don’t even care what the response is. I thought I would though. My greatest fear is losing the desire to write because of reader response. It’s a silly notion, I know. But insecurity just does that, you know? Fortunately, I’ve been building up my thick skin for over a year now since I started working with Jamie. I look forward to the red marks with excitement now because each one is an opportunity to improve.
Case in point, I have the book 3 manuscript on my shelf fresh from Jamie (or not so fresh since it’s been sitting there a while), replete with red pen marks that I’ve yet to do much more than peek at. I am straight-up annoyed that I am not done with book 2 final edits yet because I am DYING to begin the bleed on book 3.
When I ask myself what I love so much about writing , the answer is simply that it betters me. And the better I get at the craft, the better I get as a person. Writing and self-improvement are inseparable in my world. To quit one is to quit the other.
So what AM I doing now that a number of people are reading my book?
Editing book 2! Because I can hardly wait to push the publish button on that one, too. It’s a crazy high to expose your underwear drawer to the world. I don’t think a one of us has the exact same items, and when we finally have the courage to show what kind of things we put in there, we realize how absolutely freeing it is. And we want to pull out each item and show everyone just to prove how unashamed we really are of ourselves. And as we do it, we find things we forgot about that remind us of things we love about ourselves. It gets easier and easier until it becomes an absolute joy.
And I am in heaven.
Some people like to think we shouldn’t be airing our laundry. Looking probably makes them uncomfortable. That’s cool. I’ve been there. I know what it feels like. But trust me when I say that an open underwear drawer is far easier to live with than one that’s closed up tight.