A few days ago I hit send on an email that had been sitting in my drafts folder for about a week. It was a very exciting email. One that was 10 years in the making and was going out to some of my closest family and friends. To 8 people I love and know love me.
And it was the most terrifying email I have ever drafted.
The thought of sending it filled me with so much dread and doubt and uncertainty I nearly threw up.
These were the people I was asking to read my book. The first people that would read the novel I had worked on for 10 years. And I was terrified they were going to hate it.
It’s a crazy thing to share part of your soul…part of your complete being…with others. My book is my baby in a way that my actual babies couldn’t be.
This book is what makes me a writer. And I want to be a writer. I want to call myself a writer. But I want to have earned the right to do so.
And if these 8 people said my book was no good – in the kind and loving way I knew they would – it would mean this goal I had been working on for so long – for my entire life – was unattainable.
Somehow – when I was ready as I was ever going to be – I sent it. Then I printed off 8 copies and delivered them.
And then I waited – a part of me vibrating with nerves and self-doubt – until the first “review” came in a few days later.
I could breathe again.
I heard my aunt laugh out loud while reading it and thought “I did that.”
I saw tears in my mother’s eyes as she read it and thought “Words I wrote did that.”
Another friend posted a picture on Facebook of her reading my book and people liked it.
And then I got this text:
So while I still can’t believe anyone other than me has read the 89,000 words I have been working on for so many years, I can’t deny the obvious truth.
I have readers.
And that – by definition – officially makes me a writer.