I wasn’t really PO’d at the PDF–it looked great. I was just pissed off at myself. Sick to my stomach. Literally. A cold layer of sweat oozed through my pores as the room spun.
My publisher had just emailed me a PDF of my “final” book. I glanced at it again and nearly threw up on my keyboard.
“Honey?! Can you come help me?” I yelled to my wife. I said it with the same tone and inflection I would’ve used if a rattler had chewed its way into my office and latched on to my neck. She ran in the room asking if I was okay.
“No. I’m not okay. My book is awful.”
She put a hand on my neck to comfort me. “Ew,” she said. “You’re covered in sweat.”
Now, my wife is a clinical psychologist, so I assume she knows what she’s doing. Maybe I need to get worse before I can get better? She reads along with me.
“The book is great,” she says. “And baby, everyone that reads your novel loves it. Even the people that hate you seem to enjoy it.”
“Well, I hate it. I hate myself and I hate writing.” I looked up at her, completely sincere. “You know, I’ve always wanted to bag groceries. It’s an old dream of mine. You think they’ll have me?”
“Baby,” she says. “It’s just nerves. I wouldn’t let you put out something bad, and neither would your editor or your publisher.” She alternates between rubbing my head and wiping her hands on her pants. “It’ll be fine. You’re just in shock. This feeling will go away, just like it always does.”
As usual, she was right. And later, my editor explained that this was “normal” for writers. But I have a hard time believing that. Why would an entire profession put themselves through this for such meager pay?
And why won’t my wife prescribe me something so this never happens again?!