It is a curious feeling, publishing a book. There is a certain sense of accomplishment about it, sure, but there are other emotions mixed in that you wouldn’t expect. I have never been mistaken for a guy who is outward about his emotions, but I think this is an interesting period of my life. I am genuinely interested in knowing if other folks - authors, artists, creative-types, who create something for the world to consume - how have you felt after it was “completed”? There’s no wrong answer here and I’d like to hear from you. Is this list normal or am I a maniac? Please feel free to leave a comment.
Here, in no particular order, is the range of emotions I have gone through in the 12 days since publishing my first novel, Three Days in Ashford.
Thrilled to see my work out there, proud and humbled
I suppose anything that you spend five years of your life working on is going to bring about joy when you’re finally done with it. Finishing a novel and submitting it for consumption and consideration by the readers of Earth is easily one of the hardest things I have ever done. I really can’t understate how much of an uphill, clawing, pride annihilating struggle the entire process was. However, I love the entirety of that struggle, and plan on going through it again. If it were easy, then there wouldn’t be such a profound sense of accomplishment. I have never been terribly enamored with “easy.” I would much rather finish one thing that is extraordinarily difficult than a thousand simple things—which is probably why I enjoy writing as much as I do. It has been humbling to hear the early feedback from those who have read Three Days in Ashford. Thus far, people are really enjoying it (thank you!) You simply can’t ask for better feedback.
A peculiar sense of bored hyperactivity
Maybe it is normal when you pour the sweat of your last half-decade into something and ultimately see it done, that one isn’t quite sure what to do with their life afterwards? In the couple of weeks since I’ve officially called Three Days in Ashford “finished,” my… “thinking about what my next book will be about metric” has jumped off the scales. I spent so much time and energy on Ashford over such a long period of time that it feels like there is a sense of time-wasting smothering me now. There is a powerful sense of "I should be writing" again. I do have several ideas around what my next novel will be about however, those ideas are barely beyond the “idea on a napkin” phase. So, no, I should not be writing yet, but goddamned if I don’t want to. I know it is normal and I certainly have other aspects of my life that command my attention. So this will pass.
A little bit of sadness
It is hard to explain it. I have spent a long time thinking about, creating, developing and ultimately deciding the fates of, the characters in Three Days in Ashford. They've always been mine—products of my imagination with aspects of myself and those close to me built into them. And now, they belong to. . .everyone. Even writing this, chokes me up in some (I assure you) very manly, barely noticeable fashion. It's not just the characters; it’s the entire story. It has grown so close to me and now it's public. It truly is like having a piece of yourself for sale on Amazon. But, don't let this scare you off—and I hope you enjoy it! It might be a small piece of me but I spent a lot of money to create that small piece.
It is scary to have spent so much time and energy on something and have no idea how people might receive it. Especially a horror novel. I am sure there will be people asking themselves: "How did this weirdo think this shit up?” I promise I am an incredibly normal dude in every other aspect of my life. My day leading up to writing this journal post involved: getting up, going to work, coming home, letting the dog out, paying bills, eating a hotdog and. . .that brings us to now. Does that sound like the day of a horror-obsessed maniac?
And obviously I just want people to enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed building it for them. I didn't do it for me; I did it to scare readers who want to be scared. At the same time they're being scared their thoughts are being provoked by interesting, well developed, well researched subject matter. I tried incredibly hard to produce such a product and I hope to god that I did.