It isn’t the writing, although that can be challenging, those challenges are fun.
It isn’t the editorial process, which for me has two major layers—first my developmental editor, Adam Krause reads for big stuff like plot, pacing, and characterization. That results in revisions that can be difficult, but I don’t mind, I always learn stuff. Second comes a more detailed line edit from Christine, who not only deals with my comma disability but also has an eye for story details. For example, in Ruby Milk, Penny broke her wrist. Christine found scenes where I should have mentioned the wrist, such as when Penny spent a day packing boxes but never mentioned the pain or difficulty of doing so with a broken wrist. Those edits are invaluable to me because I’m not the best detail person.
What’s really hard, though, has nothing to do with the work that goes in. The hard part is emotional. A piece of fiction that comes from inside my heart and mind is by definition an intimate thing. It’s a vulnerable feeling to put it out for people to consume. Some people won’t like it, and some won’t be particularly nice about that. I can deal with that. No piece of writing or art appeals to everyone. Still, the act of opening myself up for evaluation, to be “reviewed”, is uncomfortable.
But recently I came to understand something more deeply. For however long I’m here in this body, I’ll receive from the world and the people in it. The reason I’m compelled to write is that I want to put something here. “Contribute” seems a little lofty, but that’s that general idea. It isn’t that what I write will change the world in a big way, but by putting my insecurities aside and publishing, I offer something that someone may enjoy, that may resonate with, entertain, or even comfort them. I’ve tried to take the best parts of myself and share them with others.
I don’t expect it was easy for any of the authors I’ve enjoyed reading.
It certainly isn’t easy for me.