I recently decided to self-publish one of my books.
It was pretty serendipitous how I came to that decision. I recently did some research for a client who wanted information on self-publishing options, and I’m also in the middle of the #30daysofcreating Instagram challenge for CreateLounge. I’ve been especially grateful for the challenge as it has pushed me to publish a lot more content in different formats than I have before, and one particular prompt inspired to pursue self-publishing myself.
I’ve written a half-dozen books, in various genres, fiction and non-fiction, but, up until now, the one thing that has always seemed out-of-reach for me as an author was that coveted of titles: published. However, after doing the research and in the middle of a creativity splurge, it seems more than plausible now. I have a book, I have the time, and, as of last Wednesday, I have an ISBN.
So, I set about in earnest last week to prepare my book for eventual publishing. I have registered the book title and am using that as impetus to get this thing ready, since I’m certainly not going to lie to the Library of Congress. I sat down last Thursday ready to work on it only to run into a problem.
I couldn’t do it.
It was the oddest thing. I had already formatted the book for e-publishing, so all I really had to do was give it a once-over and maybe beef it up in parts. Yet I couldn’t. I would start reading and have to stop minutes later. It’s a not a difficult text. The chapters are small, a short essay each, and yet I could barely work an hour before I felt paralyzed by the process.
I didn’t understand it.
I had the energy. I had the drive. I was actually excited about working on something that could be published. Yet, it was taking everything I had to force myself to edit it, and, even then, I felt overwhelmed by the task.
It took me stepping away from it for a few hours to figure out why.
I wrote this book last fall, shortly after I moved to Atlanta. It was a dark time for me, and I really wish I knew a better way to describe it. I was in the middle of looking for an apartment and a job and was getting nowhere with either pursuit. Coupled with all the stress of moving to a new and unfamiliar place, I found myself in deep depression.
It was then that I started writing the book, which began as an analysis of the Book of Jeremiah then turned into a kind of memoir. A place I could ask all the questions that weren’t being answered. A place I could process through everything I was experiencing.
I realized that in the process of editing the book, I was reliving the emotions that had helped me write it. That’s one of the things about writing. This ability to construct a time capsule out of words for our thoughts and emotions. Although, sometimes, it ends up being a time bomb.
Of course, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Though, as anyone who has dealt with depression or anxiety can tell you, there are no better times for it. I have been wrestling with a lot lately, a lot of the same thoughts I had back in the fall. So, it was doubly hard to relive them as it made me feel like I hadn’t made any progress since then.
I can’t speak for every artist, but I’m fairly certain all writers need some level of therapy. We tend to be in our heads a lot. It comes with the territory. So, in some ways, we might be more susceptible to these kinds of things. At the same time, all these emotions are why we write. Wrestling with them is as much of the process as anything.
Writing is how we process through these kinds of things, but, case in point, this can backfire on us. However, I am learning, that, too, is part of the process.
Writing is rewriting, as the saying goes, and it’s true. In the same way, living is reliving. We rarely experience something only once. The remembering is another experience, and, in a way, the completion of it.
In the end, of course, I don’t have much choice, and, in fact, I feel all the more that the book needs to be finished, needs to be published. This experience has shown me the power of these words and makes me think, just maybe, someone else needs to read them. I lamented before about not having good enough words to describe this “dark time”. I now realize I do have better words.
They are right in front of me.
(Image by Chaitra)