Fears of a first-time author revealed
I released my first book over the weekend, and if you stop and consider my day job it would only seem natural that after so many years of writing and being published in a newspaper or magazine this sort of publication should perhaps hardly faze me at all.
Oh, boy is that wrong.
In all actuality, it is quite the opposite. Writing for a newspaper or magazine is my job, much like when you are in school and you have a term paper you need to turn into your professor by a certain day and time. Writing a novel and creating characters and a story from scratch and then releasing it into the world is something I have recently realized makes a writer way more vulnerable than merely meeting a deadline week to week.
I think perhaps it even lends a greater understanding for me as a journalist for what those I interview probably go through on a regular basis. I often stop and think about the trust those I talk to have to instill in me to tell their story, and to tell it in a way that makes them proud.
Not often, but a few times throughout my career, I have met with people who have an honest hatred towards journalist and I am forced to not only conduct an interview but try and write a story hopefully reinstalling their trust which has possibly been broken from many years before. One time, in particular, I spent hours with an organization only to have them ask me at the end for final approval before the story was published. For those who deal with the media on a regular basis, you know this is not how things work. After explaining what they wanted was not allowed, I was then told I could not publish or use what I had spent hours of my time already researching with the owners.
Long story short, the owners finally agreed, and the story ran without any issue. Their trust once again strengthened towards the media as they realized not all journalists are out to get the dirt and report on “fake news” just to sell a few more newspapers.
Much like those I speak to do not get the opportunity to read what I have written before publication, as an author you release your manuscript with no idea of how the public will respond to it.
I told a family member recently how I think writers are a little bipolar about their writing. Many times, I will read my thoughts after putting them down on paper and think they are great, only to come back to them a while later and think it is the worst thing I have ever written, and no one will like it or even care.
Embarking on this new chapter in my life is not only a challenge, but if I am being honest – scary as hell. Putting yourself out there and baring such an intimate side of yourself, even if it is only your imagination, is very nerve-racking to say the very least. It takes writing a weekly column with your thoughts in a community newspaper to a whole new level as I stop and wait for family, friends and even strangers to respond to something I have put my heart and soul into and a dream I have had since I was a little girl.
All fears aside, I just hope a few people who take the time to read my book like it. And even if they don’t, that won’t stop me from writing more.
Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.