Here’s what I already knew:
- Without the marketing of a traditional publishing house, I wouldn’t sell as many copies, especially at the beginning. I’m okay with that. I just wanted to finally get my book out there, and I wanted to keep my voice authentic without an editor changing it. All I can do now is my best on social media to help people find it.
- I would have self-doubt. Every creator has self-doubt. I obviously have normal writer’s self-doubt about my other ongoing projects like I had while writing Love Isn’t Always on Time, but I’m surprisingly not as anxious about the finished book as I thought I would be. I’m just proud I finally took the leap. Sometimes I say to myself, “Wow. I really wrote a book and released it.” It’s an incredible feeling.
What I didn’t know is:
I would have overwhelming anxiety about going public as a person, not about my book.
I released Love Isn’t Always on Time on Amazon exactly a month ago. Today is the first day for a whole month I’ve been able to even look at the internet without feeling waves of irrational fear knocking me down. I’m very private with a small friends group, and I never bothered too much with social media. With releasing my book, I knew I needed a more active social media presence to sell my book (and I’m so glad I did because Writing Twitter is an amazing and supportive community). No one tells you that as an anxious introvert, there is an awful transition period where you go from being a nobody to trying to be a somebody, and it’s scary.
Forget editing other projects and writing. I couldn’t look at anything I was working on without feeling sick. And then what do you think happened? I felt like a loser, felt guilty, and felt like I was missing out because I wasn’t getting anything done, which was only making the situation more agonizing as I wallowed in depression and anxiety. Worst of all, I lost the joy of creating. I simply write for the joy of it. That is all. It makes me happy. I definitely want to make a full time career out of it someday, but right now, it’s a little piece of heaven I have. And for the last month, I hated it. I knew something had to change. I was sick of feeling sick, and I wanted to create again. I wanted to enjoy my life.
The last two days I’ve given myself a pep talk. All the “demons” I was battling were created in my head. (An overactive imagination makes anxiety a million times worse.) No one is hurting me. I’m only hurting myself. I still don’t even know what I was afraid of. That’s what anxiety does… it makes you create problems that aren’t even there. I knew this whole time nothing was wrong, but I was still making myself sick for no reason.
The point of this post is just to tell all first-time authors out there this: If you’re anxious over being public for the first time, you’re not alone. You don’t need a reason for it. And there is no “fix”. Give yourself time to relax and collect the pieces of your mental health back together. You can face the world again when you’re ready.