A friend of mine recently tweeted a GIF of a roller coaster, comparing it to the publishing experience. It was sort of perfect.
The experience is full of ups and downs, for sure. The best way to understand the full scope of this is to become a part of a writing community and listen as other writers share their hearts and emotions. I’ve done a lot of things for a living. I’ve cleaned houses, worked as a pharmacy tech, ran a daycare, worked in a hospital, taught in schools, worked in retail, taught painting classes. None of these fields of work affected me emotionally like writing does. Your words are your heart and soul. Your guts. Your very being. So the process of writing, or publishing can be both deeply gratifying and equally as distressing.
As artists, we are our own worst critiques and biggest fans. Teetering between these two roles is one of the most exhausting experiences I’ve had in my adult life. One minute, I’m like, “Daaaaaang, who wrote this? It’s gooooood.” And the next, I’m embarrassed for having sent it out into the world. But as I share my journey with others, I’ve found this is the norm for writers. And this isn’t the only internal battle we face. There are other elements in the roller coaster as well: the steep inclines and dips and upside down turns of publishing itself.
Publishing is all about waiting. And, waiting, I’ve found, is like that slow drag up to the peak of the coaster. For some of us, this portion of the journey is longer than others. And the longer it is, the more anticipation and anxiety that builds. Then there’s the matter of hitting the peak. There’s a number of ways we might react. We might take the go-dead-to-the-world, wake-me-up-when-it’s-over approach, or scream and freak out on the way down. Some of us actually enjoy the dive. While others are already thinking about the next peak before we even get to the valley. We’re asking ourselves, can I really do this again? And what happens after that? Another peak? Another valley? Can I live like this my whole life? Why did I ever get on this ride?
The fact is, deep down, we really DO love the ride. We wouldn’t be satisfied with another life. If you’ve ever gone a long period of time without the elements of the roller coaster, you know, it’s pretty boring. There’s no reason to obsessively check your email. No news coming in. Nothing to create or promote. It’s true, this life isn’t for everyone. But for the roller coaster lovers, the rush is all a part of the journey.