When I explain to people how it feels to write a book, I compare it to being pregnant and birthing a child without the physical pain. I mean no disrespect to women who have given birth to a tiny human but the process is quite similar. You spend months caring for and cultivating this remarkable thing you have created and once the process has come to its natural conclusion, you feel elated and you feel a sense of pride you never knew existed. You spend so much time staring at it and are afraid to let anyone else touch it. It never leaves your side.
But there comes a time when you have to learn to give up a little bit of the control. Eventually you know you are going to have to let other people handle your baby and you are a nervous wreck when you finally make the decision to leave them with someone else. Your gut churns as you wonder how other people are going to react and how they are going to treat your baby.
Until this week my baby had only been left with family. While there is still a sense of apprehension, one assumes that family will not come straight out and tell you that your child is terrible. They may allude to the fact that there are some problems but any feedback could be slightly sugar-coated to preserve the emotional well-being of the parent.
I knew the day would come when I would have to hand my baby, my book, over to a person outside of my immediate family. It honestly felt like I was dropping my child off at overnight camp for a week with no way to communicate with them. I carved a path in my living room carpet as I paced the floor and, as the days went on, I began to get a feeling that I’m sure many parents feel. If I have done the job I needed to do in the creation of this entity, I should have some faith that I did a good job.
Yesterday morning, I received a validation so positive it made me cry. Her first two texts read, “Omgggggg, I am so hooked on your friggen book. It’s like every second wondering if you can take it with you to read one more page.”
Where the flame of my publishing dream was a mere flicker, it is now a roaring fire. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to buy some gasoline.