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My book releases in less than a month, and I’m miserable.

It’s always been hard for me to share my work –with my husband (my first reader), critique partners, editor, and those I queried. It’s a physically and emotionally painful experience. Those experiences, however, are nothing compared to this. I never really grasped the full impact of the phrase “crippling self-doubt,” but now I get it.

My stomach is in knots, my heart is heavy, I’m exhausted, and my brain is in this constant fog. I really cannot hang onto a thought without a struggle.

It won’t be long until people I know, and people I don’t know are reading the words that I put together to tell this story I spent so much time with. I lived with these characters. I walked through these woods. I’ve battled these monsters.

You’d think I’d be proud and excited right now, but there is a dark cloud hanging over me. My smile is not genuine. It’s hiding the voice in my head that’s saying “Soon, they’re all going to know that your book is a turd.”

Why do I have to beat up on myself in this way? Why can’t I be proud of myself? Instead, I only imagine people throwing the book down and calling it “crap.” I can already read the not yet published bad reviews as though I’m Nostradamus.

Oh dear writing friends, how do I get through this time? How do I talk to myself in any way that isn’t negative?

Is it really too late to use a pen name and not admit my writing is mine?

Courage, now, Karen. Courage. It’s too late for anything else.


The author of middle-grade fantasy adventure books A GAME OF TRUTHS and ASTER FINLAY AND THE GREAT ELAN

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