My debut comes out in May. It’s exciting. And terrifying.
A box of galleys arrived a week ago. Even before I had the box completely open, I was crying. The top two books are slightly tear- stained now – those will stay on my shelf. 🙂
I mentioned exciting, right? Seeing all of your hard work come together in a real life book is amazing. That’s my name on the cover!!!! And I’ve been touched by the number of people who’ve cheered and asked about ordering and cheered some more.
I’m not worried about reviews. I know this book isn’t for everyone. I know there are people who will love it and others who will find fault with it. That’s not to say the negative reviews won’t sting. But I’m not freaking out about them (check with me after the reviews start coming in, I may have a totally different take on this).
What I am freaking out about, is making an ass of myself.
If you look up the word “introvert” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of me. I’m perfectly happy working in my cave, doing what needs to be done. I’m extremely uncomfortable in the spotlight. You’re looking at a person who never wanted birthday parties and tried ducking out of her own bridal shower. So the thought of doing book events scares the bejeesus out of me.
I love watching kids and their absolute lack of inhibition. It doesn’t matter to them whether they’re good at what they’re attempting or not, they do it to have fun and they have fun doing it regardless of how they look or what others think.
Doing something – anything – that’s out of my comfort zone is scary. I used to do a lot of things when I was younger that I shy away from now because I don’t want to embarrass myself. Somewhere along the way, I lost the ability to let go of my inhibition.
For the last four plus years I’ve spent a ton of time at the climbing gym with my son. We’re there three or four days a week, for several hours each time. Climbing fascinated me but fascinated me from the ground. Two years ago my son challenged me to climb. It took time but I finally succumbed to the pressure of a determined 9-year old and had my husband belay me on a day when the gym was mostly empty and in the back room where very few people climb. It was a blast.
And I refused to climb again. Why? Because I was too intimidated by how I thought I needed to look and what I thought others would think of me.
But here’s the thing. If you don’t put yourself out there, you lose. I put myself out there by writing a book and sending it to agents. I now have a book coming out by an amazing New York publisher. I put myself out there by co-founding a writing association. I’m now part of a fabulously supportive writing community. It can be done!
So I buckled back into my harness and started climbing regularly with a handful of other parents while our kids are at team practice. Yeah, it still makes me queasy to think what my big behind looks like in that harness from below, and yeah, I still can’t haul my butt over that roof and conquer the baby head climb, but I let go of the inhibition and I’m having fun.
(No worries, folks, I’m still holding on to enough inhibition – there won’t be any karaoke singing or dancing on tables.)
How will climbing help me when I have to talk about my book in front of people? Because it’s reminded me that it’s not about how I look or what I do or don’t do. It doesn’t matter if I have to yell “take” ten times during a climb or if I’m still climbing 5.7s (and an occasional 5.8) while everyone around me is doing 5.10s. I’ve learned that when I don’t put pressure on myself to be perfect, I can send the climb. It may not always be pretty but I can do it. And the next time it’s a little better. And the time after that, it feels pretty damn good.
Will I be perfect when I do my first book event? Probably not. I may forget a character’s name (or my own), get all flushed and stuttery when asked questions, and break into hives with strangers staring at me. But I’ll mumble “take” under my breath and reach for an imaginary chalk bag, I’ll take a deep breath and look around for the next move. And just like with climbing, the next attempt will be easier.
What scares you about writing or publishing and what techniques have you used to get past those fears?
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Orly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world, where she spent roughly sixteen (cough) years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats. She is a co-founder and past president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and a member of the Tall Poppy Writers. She is rep’d by Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary Agency LLC.
Orly’s debut, The Distance Home, will be released by Forge on May 2, 2017.