Do you think Stephen King gets nervous before a release date? Not that I’m comparing myself to the Master of Horror by any means. I’m just wondering if the waiting and pressure ever gets easier, even for superstar writers. My new novella ‘When Adam Kissed Me‘ drops November 6 and I can honestly say I don’t recall the last time I was so nervous about anything. I used to tell myself that I only wrote for myself, and to some extent that is still true, but popular opinion is impossible to avoid and get wrapped up in. No one really wants to see their baby trashed.
I’m usually pretty confident about my writing (sometimes even over confident), but his time I’m filled with second guesses and “what ifs?” When I first finished writing ‘Adam’, I thought it was awesome. But several months of waiting, and re-reading, and editing have left me wondering if that’s really the case. I’ve read it so many times that I’m almost sick of it. All I see now are the tiny flaws and the things I missed or would change if I had a chance. Technically I still know it’s good, but is it my best? If you asked me six months ago, I would have said yes; now I would say, I can still do better.
I was never so uptight about my first stories, but Adam and Joe, my main characters hold a special place for me so I want–no, need–to do them justice. And of course I had to go and write a sequel, so I’m left with the added pressure of having to live up to the first novella. Seeing all the Goodreaders who have already flagged it for their “To-Read” shelf has given me a major case of butterflies and I feel like I’m a kid again waiting for that critical grade. I suppose it’s not so much that I worry they won’t like it (there are always bound to be readers who don’t)–it’s more that I don’t want to disappoint people or leave them feeling cheated. That’s especially tough with sequels. Many a time I’ve felt let down by a sequel, and in one case recently I actually felt betrayed by what I saw as the author’s complete turnaround in character behavior. Ack! My stomach is already in knots just thinking about it.
Now that I’ve realized I want to make a career out of writing, I’m feeling double the pressure. As a writer there is always the next story, the next book, another opportunity to improve, but it’s hard to get someone to give you a second chance if you’ve let people down. First impressions are still the most important. I want to build a reputation as a reliable, entertaining writer.
I know it’s good to be nervous–it means you care and want to do your best–but dang I don’t know if my stomach can take this every time. I sure hope it gets a bit easier.
BTW I’ll be over guest blogging about the challenges of sequels and “friends-to-lovers” on the Dreamspinner Press blog on November 7 to celebrate the release, so stop by.