On publishing & nakedness

Writing is a funny thing. It’s painful, amusing, easy, really damned difficult, astonishing, disappointing, refreshing, soul-deadening…  In the end, it must average out to something that’s positive for me, because I keep doing it. (Well… that, or I really enjoy torturing myself and I just haven’t figured that out yet.)

Publishing a book is something else entirely. It’s not a funny thing. I’d say it’s closer to a root canal that happens to be taking place in the middle of the mall during the last couple of weeks in December. Also, you’re naked, and the dentist is John Kramer.

I’ve thought a lot about why I default to “shove it in the trunk and never show it to anyone, ever!” What it comes down to is discomfort, I think. The stuff that I write isn’t always a reflection of what I believe; if that were true, I’d never write characters with different beliefs and mindsets, and good grief, would THAT be boring. For some people, it would make writing villains damned near impossible (not me, but, you know… some people). To me, writing is like exposing all of the wiring in your head – but if no one sees it, it doesn’t matter. Publishing, on the other hand, is like inviting the entire world to come in, sit down, and take a look at the wiring in your head. Up close. At length. With aaaaall the time in the world to examine and re-examine it. Yeesh.

The chances of this process somehow resulting in what we tend to think of as “success” – bestsellers, fame, fortune, etcetera, etcetera – are pretty freaking slim. But that’s ok, too, because while all of that would be nice, it’s not the point. The point is that I can’t help myself. I have to do it, or the wiring in my brain starts shorting out. If someone enjoys examining the insane crap that goes through my head, hell, more power to them. Books can make you forget about reality for a little while, and really, that’s all this is about for me. Completely dissociating yourself from reality is bad; escaping it every once in a while isn’t just good, it’s necessary. Otherwise, we’d ALL be crazy. (Well, ok, yes, I’m kind of nuts, but there’s probably still hope for you.)

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