I found this gem on Pinterest a few days ago, and it was so true I had to hang on to it. But it also gets me thinking about how finishing my first book has changed me. Here are five ways off the top of my head:
1. I am completely unable to read books in the manner I always have. See, before the book (or as I call it, BB), I read for knowledge or entertainment. Sometimes those two motivations overlapped, and those were happy times indeed. But now when I read for leisure, I'm either jealous I didn't come up with the idea first or I'm turned off by the author's style, how he or she has crafted their words and strung them together. When I read for knowledge, my newly minted writer's brain calls it research and then I am sidetracked. I'm concerned this development is permanent.
2. I worry more about how people perceive me. I know I shouldn't but I can't help it. Now that my book is out there, people might read it. And then when they do, they will look at me in a whole new light. Like, "My god! You wrote THAT?!" And while I want nothing more than for people to buy it, read it, and love it...I worry that my family and friends could be horrified by the thoughts rolling around in my head. Not that it's stopping me, but the notion has changed how much I discuss my process, and with whom.
3. After Book (or AB, as it is known inside my head), I now am plagued with self-doubt. I've always been a writer: journals off and on, papers for school, mass tonnage of poetry, stories, novel beginnings, sometimes this blog...but it was mostly private. In fact, until last year not many people in my daily life knew I'd ever written a thing with any amount of creative effort, aside from close family and friends. But now several people know. Even a few people I've never met. And I doubt I'm good enough to make writing books a career. Faced with the magnitude of people trying to break through as authors, I'm daunted about my chances and I doubt my amount of talent. I have no self-marketing skills...so less chance of catching the eye of a would be agent or publisher. I feel helpless, and doubtful, in the face of this knowledge.
4. I'm constantly speaking to the voices in my head. With no fewer than five writing projects going on currently, it's getting a bit crowded in there. Characters are having to take a number and wait their turn. Some of them are covered in blood, or are werewolves, or are small children with slingshots....it's an odd sitting room. I worry some are not getting the attention they deserve.
5. I'm completely addicted. I want nothing more than to write books, spin yarn, knit blankets, drink coffee, bake muffins, read books, and write, write, write. If I had to choose just one of those things, I would pick writing. I wish I could write for extended periods of time everyday, but work, school, and family all demand equal quarter. But it's always there, always waiting, that jones for words, waiting to spill out of me and onto the pages.
I'm sure my list is not unique. I'm smart enough to realize any creative person feels the same. But the fact is, this is my experience and therefore peculiar for me. I have to seek ways to handle these changes and turn negatives to positives, and make positives shine brighter. Maybe it gets easier with each book. Maybe it doesn't. One thing is sure: now that I've begun to seriously write, I'll never stop.