You know, I don’t usually think of myself as a sham. Lately, I keep hearing adults say they don’t have their crap together and they feel like they’re fooling everyone by pretending to be a responsible adult. I do not feel this way. I feel like a responsible adult who has her crap together. It’s not that hard. You just pick the things you’re going to concern yourself with, keep your list modest, and get it done. After that, anything else that happens to get done is just cream.
But when I think of myself as an author, I think I’m a scammer. I don’t go around announcing that I’m a
novelist. Over the Christmas break, I was at a party where a really fabulous woman asked me what I did.
The gal next to her put an elbow in the other woman’s ribs and said, “She’s a mom,” like that was more
than an explanation. However, I have been trying to teach myself to be what I am, so I explained that I’m
an indie novelist, but added that it was super embarrassing to admit it. She replied with, “I used to work
in publishing and you’re the first writer I’ve ever met who is embarrassed by it.”
The problem is, as I have explained before, it is pretty much impossible to make a perfect product
without a company working with you (a lot of errors sneak through even if you are working with one),
but I feel like cringing for a week every time I find a mistake in my already published work. And I wonder
why my brain doesn’t catch them. I have edited my books a dozen times, read them aloud multiple times
to find mistakes, given them to beta readers, allowed editors to work on them, and they still aren’t
without fault. It is maddening. Why can’t my human brain find all the screwups?
The second problem is that people seem to expect success to be within reach if you manage to get a
book published. Self-publishing is a great thing and a terrible thing in the same breath. People who
don’t know anything about writing can hit ‘publish’ whenever they want and I’m lumped in with them. I
say I’m a novelist, and I am one, but people seem to think that means something more than I know how
to write a novel and I’m trying to see how it can work out if I just keep at it until all the books on my
harddrive are published.
I have to admit, it’s a pretty good feeling when I hold my four printed books in my hands (you do almost
need two hands). If I were a teenager coming home from the library, I would be ecstatic to have such
great things to read. If I were a teenager, I’d think the author of the books I was reading had all her crap
together as a novelist as well as an adult. I’d hold those books and think Man, this woman has it
together! That’s the reward… I impress my teenage self who doesn't know any better.
And the woman from the Christmas party says, “I’m sure you’re being too hard on yourself.” Hearing
someone fabulous like that say those words almost made me think it could be true. Surely, she has