I have to talk about something or I’m going to explode. It has a little bit to do with publishing, but not really. It’s so much deeper than that. I’ve been through a lot in the past year. I’ve signed a book with a publisher and seen it published. I’ve gone into bookstores and humbly asked if they’d stock my book. I’ve called libraries. I’ve been turned down. I survived a really long book blog tour and received lots and lots of emails and conversations from people who love my work and want to tell me. I’ve read some bad reviews from mean people – reviews I had no business reading in the first place. I’ve planned a book launch party, attended my first book signing. I’ve held my book for hours at a time, shocked at how amazing it feels to finally have this happen outside of my control from self-publishing. It’s different this time around.
I was on a freaking high.
A book high, and let me tell you, when it ends. It ends. I think some friends told me this would happen. Coming off a high really sucks. I’ve spent a few good crying sessions in the shower. I have no idea why I’m all of a sudden freaking out and panicking. I have another book coming out in six months. I should be so happy! And yeah, I fear that someone might be rolling their eyes because I’m published and should be happy and not complain. Ever. Well, I still have feelings and emotions, so if anyone doesn’t like that, I’m sorry. Go read another blog. I’m honest here, and I’ll talk about this stuff because I need to talk about it. SELLING YOUR WORK IS HARD. No matter how you do it, no matter how much you make, no matter why you do it. I think it’s harder than just the creating aspect. Period. Writing. Painting. 3-D design, whatever you happen to create. Putting value on your work is hard. It’s probably one of the hardest things a human being can be expected to do because you have to find a balance somewhere between that value on your work and your real worth (which is truly beyond any value) as a person. It has been hard for me to separate myself from that value and what truly makes me happy. As my publisher puts it, however, happiness is nothing more than a choice. Period.
I think the key to happiness for any artist is making that choice in spite of the perceived value of what you produce. The mere fact that I’m creating something I love should be enough. It is enough. I was happy before I was published, so I’m the same kind of happy as I was then. The only difference is that I now have more exposure for my work and that has dragged me down more than I expected. As I contemplate more and more why that is, I understand more things about myself and what I need with all these changes going on.
So what do I need?…
To wake up every morning and make that decision to be content no matter what. Because constant happiness and joy is a bit sickening, but being content every day is something I can do.
And here’s my little pep-talk between me, myself, and I, but you’re welcome to listen in. Because I don’t care what happens to you, how many times you’ve been rejected, how sucky you think you are, how badly you want something, how much better you think anybody is than you. None of that is anything but a choice you make with how you feel about it. Period. If you can’t be content with where you are now, even in the crappiest, darkest of times, that will never change until you do.