My proof copy of Darkness and Light, the third book in my steampunk fantasy romance series, the Earth and Sky saga, arrived in the mail today. Of course, being the geek I am, I stroked the glossy cover for a moment, picked out all the flaws, then rushed to take a photo of myself with my new baby.
As I looked at my proud picture, I realized my hair was a mess and my makeup had long since fled my eyelids. I thought how many people would probably have went and did their hair and makeup to perfectly pose with their book.
And I decided I'm not one of them.
Why? Because the photo of me with my book says more clearly than any words what it is like to be a budding author. I had emergency surgery two weeks ago and only just returned to attending medical appointments with my patients for work this week, working increased hours at a stressful job to make up for the time I lost when I was in the hospital.
I'm tired. I have a family. I have to squeeze writing, and blogging, book design, marketing, networking, developing my skills in the craft of writing, photoshop, audiobook recording, and a million other things I need for my bag of tricks into the "spare" time between a full time job, raising a kid (who also has medical issues BTW), and life.
But what makes it all worth it is holding that book in my hand. No my hair isn't perfect and I look like I've had a hard day. That's because I have. That's real.
It doesn't make me less excited. If anything it makes the accomplishments that much sweeter. Writers work hard. And I think that writers, as with many other people, want to look like it's all just a breeze. Like we are so talented and wonderful and magical that the books just fall out of our brains fully completed and dripping critical acclaim.
If you are a writer and that isn't how it works for you, please don't beat yourself up. Slip on your sweatpants, put your hair in a messy bun and do what you love. Maybe by being yourself, you will inspire those around you to be more authentic in what they do as well. The gods know the world could use more authenticity these days!