Friday, July 19, 2013

Self-Publishing and Confidence

After reading my last post you might understand why it's been such a struggle for me to really, indeed, come to terms with self-publishing.  It seems like a failure to me and has caused a great many rifts in the canyon of my mind.  The concept of self-publishing contrasted to getting published by a real publishing company is bad enough, but the fact that to self-publish you then have to coordinate various things on your own adds another struggle.  For instance, you have to provide your own cover art, do your own editing and formatting, find a company to print the book, and advertise yourself.  Most of these tasks I have covered with the hard work and support of my mother and parents--we are learning together; and the cover art will be provided by my ever great, supportive and understanding artist-friend Ms. Sherman.  I'm not worried about the final product.  However, having to learn all this and do it on our own has caused a great many delays, long delays, that have drastically pushed back my hoped-for publication date.  It's no one's fault, just the nature of self-publishing, especially for newcomers.  On top of that, and this is the worst part, I have constantly questioned how supported I really am... which in turn leads to serious questions of self-esteem.  You can only hear, "I don't have the time," or, worse, "I haven't made the time," so often before you think that some of the people you were most relying on can't really be relied on.

For a new, struggling, new, dreamy, new, inexperienced, new, very new writer, general emotions and confidence are apparently of the utmost importance.  I didn't know that when I first set out on this journey a year ago.  I thought that my love of writing and self-assessed skill as a writer would carry me through any issues.  That hasn't been the case at all.  Until I get a couple of publications out of the way I think that even the smallest of cracks in my confidence will continue to turn me against writing and change my assessment of my writing skill.  At the moment, for instance, I think I rank lower as a writer than Stephanie Meyer, or whatever the heck her name is.  Coming from my lips, or fingers, that's saying a lot.  And though Alexandra (aka Ms. Sherman) has tried to lift my spirits by saying that writing on my blog counts as writing, I beg to differ.  My writing on this blog has been a hate-hate relationship from the start, and now I'm on the hate side: the hate side of realizing that I'm only writing on the blog because I'm afraid to write anything real.

You could say that I'm a big baby.  You'd be absolutely right.  I am.  I'm begging for attention.  Am I wrong for doing that?  The answer is probably, "yes," no matter what, but I wonder if maybe I should beg for attention if it will help me serve the universal community by writing.  But then, do I still think that I can help anyone, or even hurt anyone, by writing?  Not at the moment.  I don't have the confidence, mostly because I don't have the support.  Can you believe that?  Since I feel like I don't have enough support, I have such a low opinion of my writing that I don't even think that I can hurt anyone.  If I pointed out the person reading this blog from two rows back, three seats from center, and said, "Hey, you're a *$#*$& and a &@$_@$, why do you continue to $(@@*^% live?" they would laugh at me.

How much of this has to do with self-publishing?  Only a little, but every little bit of insecurity gets magnified when you self-publish.  That's what I'm learning anyway.  And this process of self-publishing for the first time, to finally put the story of my bike trip, 27 Million Revolutions for 27 Million Slaves, has been absolutely brutal.

If you plan on self-publishing, good for you.  But understand that you'll either be the laughingstock of others or the laughingstock of yourself.  It should be an occasion of pride when the publication comes to fruition, especially if it's not just a bunch of blabber, but getting to that point, and even after, will almost certainly be full of a great many of occasions of self-questioning, depression, waywardness, and distancing from some of those people you are closest to.

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