Pre-Clementine Anxiety

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Writing Clementine is coming out soon, and I’m terrified. It’s not because I’m not proud of it. I really, really am. It’s the book that’s closest to my heart. It’s the book that felt the most natural, coming out. It’s the book on which I’ve worked the hardest, and I’ve had so many talented people working on it with me. It feels like it’s a joint creation, with Elise and with Jodie, and I think we’ve done a darn good job.

So why am I scared?

It’s not because I’m worried about what people will think of it. I mean, it would be lovely if everyone loves it as much as I do. It would be lovely if it touches people, and makes them happy. That’s my goal, whenever I write, to make people smile. To give them a couple of hours where they can escape from whatever is hurting them. To help them make things better, for themselves. It’s the only way I can think of, to make the world a tiny bit better, for people to need it to be. But if not everyone likes Clementine, that’s okay. I’m proud of it. I know I did the best I could do. If I get some negative reviews, I’ll be sad, because I know there is a whole team at a publisher that I love with all my heart, who had faith in me and worked hard on this thing. I’ll feel bad, because of that.

But negative reviews is not why I’m scared.

I’m scared of Clementine coming into the world because it is another book. Another credit. Another thing that says to people that I am a real writer; an experienced one; maybe even – in many people’s eyes – a successful one. That I know what I’m doing.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’m just learning. I have no wisdom to impart. I have no advice to give anyone who asks. When I talk to students about writing, it’s still just a discussion, and I learn more from them than they ever will from me.

I’m scared because, with each book that comes out, people will expect me to know more. I don’t. I fact, if anything, the longer I do this thing, the less I know.

I read a quote that was something along the lines of artists spending their lives balancing the need to communicate with the need to hide. I have to write. It’s the only thing I’ve ever needed to do, and the only thing at which I haven’t failed miserably. And I want people to read what I write, too, because, as I said, I want to help people with my writing. Otherwise, what’s the point? Otherwise, it’s a selfish endeavour. But the rest of it?

It scares me.

My book launch scares me. Author talks scare me. Blogging scares me.

And the closer it comes to Clementine entering the world, the more scared I get. The more I want to hide.

Not because I’m not proud. I’m ferociously proud, and so grateful to be given this amazing opportunity – one that so many people would kill to have. But just, a little bit, because I feel like I’m not worthy of it.

So, when I ask you to come to my book launch, I’m not asking to boast. I’m asking because I need your smiles and your hugs and your reassurance. It will make me feel less small.

One day, hopefully, I’ll stop being scared of this world. Until then, if I ask you for an extra hug in the coming weeks, please give me one!

3 thoughts on “Pre-Clementine Anxiety

  1. On Saturday night I introduced myself to a stranger as an illustrator for the first time. It terrifies me because I’m scared that I’ll be held to account if I don’t manage to fit that role 100% of the time. But it beats the bejesus out of introducing myself as [insert soulless day job here], and that matters a lot to me at the moment.

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