I’m suffering from the post-book-release blues. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them. Here’s how they work, for me at least.
I write my book. Then I work as hard as I can to revise and edit it. I try to make my story as beautiful and compelling on the page as it is in my imagination. I sacrifice family time, fun time, a clean house, exercise, to get the story how I want it. Then I send it off to my editor and I get to work organizing my promotions, hoping, hoping, hoping that once the book is published, people will read it.
And then… poof. Release day comes and like a small whisper of smoke, off my book goes into the world.
And it’s gone. I can’t change it or polish it further. I can’t control who reads it or, in this glutted market, if anyone reads it at all. I tweet. I Facebook. I visit blogs. And I hope that my work makes an impact on someone, somewhere.
But ultimately it’s just me, back at my computer, trying to focus on the next project. Trying to stay confident despite my mind’s self-doubt clamor. What if no one reads it? What if people hate it?
And then I go to walk my dog and I see a dandelion in the sidewalk. Blooming fierce and bright. Not caring whether it has an audience, or that it is in imminent danger of getting crushed underfoot. It just blooms its heart out, a small chip of sunlight embodied in a weed. Because that’s what it is. That’s what it needs to do.
And I am reminded. I am a writer. I have always written and I need to write. Underneath the self-doubt there are other voices trying to be heard. Voices of characters and ideas for stories yet to be written, and they are all waiting for my time and attention.
So I get back to work. Maybe I don’t have the audience I’d like to have. Maybe I’m in imminent danger of getting crushed in the stampede of authors who are trying to get noticed. But maybe that doesn’t matter so much, because I have my own small chip of sunlight to reveal. And hopefully, like that dandelion, it will shine a light in someone else’s heart.