Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Keeping Our Writerly Spirits Up

A cool shot of the sunset on our way to England
I've been bustling around getting ready for the March 1 release of my newest inspirational women's book, More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre. 

Between arranging speaking gigs, filling out blog interviews, and writing articles, I managed to squeeze in a 3-day trip with Spouse to sign permit papers that our builder needed for a much-anticipated addition to our wee Smoky Mt. cabin.

It was incredibly cool seeing the room and porch that had been mere whimsy in my head for so many years actually coming to fruition. (Check out the photo I posted on FB).

Not unlike writing a book, really. It's absolutely amazing when the plot and characters that have been bouncing around in your head for ages finally take physical form in your story. No more wondrous feeling like that in the whole world!

Must be a little like the Almighty felt when he first created a zebra.

Anyway, since we can't be there to oversee the construction work (we live 9 hours away),  it's kind of like being in one of those reality shows where you come home to find your house has been remodeled while you were away. I just gave the builder my 3rd grade skill level stick drawing of the house in my head and he's taking it and running with it. Talk about blind trust!

But what I really wanted to talk about was what happened in the Franklin, NC bookstore near the hotel in which we camped out (couldn't stay in the cabin with the construction mess). Spouse and I had an hour to kill so we did one of our favorite things and browsed the awesome goods at Dalton's Christian Bookstore. It was a weekday evening and although I had been there before on previous trips, I didn't recognize any of the sales clerks.

While I was selecting the books I wanted to purchase, I looked around (as I always do in bookstores) for my own books and located both Everyday Hope and Mom NEEDS Chocolate. But I couldn't find Too Blessed to be Stressed, my book just released last August :(

I was so bummed.

I couldn't be happy that this wonderful store graciously carried my other two recent books, no. Instead I began obsessing that they'd intentionally passed on the other one because my writing just wasn't good enough. Mine just didn't measure up to the other books on the shelves. (I know, I know - this reasoning makes no sense at all when they carried my other two books, but since when does self-condemnation make sense?)

So I worked myself into a grand funk, digging my I'm-such-a-lousy-writer-everyone-hates-my-book pit deeper and deeper until I stood at the checkout feeling terrible about myself. It's a wonder buzzards weren't circling overhead.

The teen clerk went about her business ringing me up while I stood there feeling like a big fat failure.

It was then that I noticed from the corner of my eye, someone staring at me. It was the store manager, Lisa, whom I'd only met once and that was six months ago. "I LOVE your new book!" she burst out. "We read from Too Blessed to be Stressed every morning in our staff devotional time and we all laugh our heads off. I've recommended it to so many people. Did you see our display?"

Um, no, I hadn't. And so I just jumped to rotten conclusions and started beating up myself.

Why do we writers do this? Is it only me, or do you struggle with constantly flagging writerly self-esteem too? Can you share with me some of the ways you shake the funk?