It's Natural To Be Afraid
Some days, it all just catches up with you.
My note to self today encapsulates my day. I am supposed to be announcing a pre-sale on my next book right now. But I've been frozen. All day, I've been frozen. I can't think straight. I can't navigate my day. I can't get from point A to point B on any one thought. As I said in the foreword to the book, I'm scared shitless.
It's not that my entire life is riding on this new book. That isn't true. I won't starve and I won't be out on the street if it doesn't sell well. I'm confident it'll sell enough copies to get me through to the next book, which will get me through to the next one and so on and so on. So while the finances certainly fuel some of the anxiety, that's definitely not the sole focus.
It's more than just releasing a book. It's more than just creative anxiety. It's more than the fact that, financially, I'm putting every egg I've got in this basket. It's more than all of that.
The last two times I released books, my life was drastically different. But it's not even about "the last time I released a book versus this time." The book release is just a catalyst. It's just the key that opened the lock I had on the trunk filled with the last year's worth of memories and events and trauma and consequences.
My last two books were all drawn from the stories I wrote on MentallyIncontinent.com -- and the vast majority of those stories involved my life with my friends and, at the time, my ex-wife. Even the stories that have nothing to do with her have her fingerprints on them, because of the man I was when I wrote them and her support during that time. That's why there'll never be another Mentally Incontinent book. That's why the two books that have been published from that site will simply remain as they are -- freely available on the website and Google Books, and available on Amazon when you find a used copy.
Otherwise, that entire chapter of my life is closed. I can't go back to it. And to be honest, I don't want to. EVER.
So I'm here now, in this new section of my life. And I'm plugging away at it the best I can, from the bottom of a whole new ladder I intend to climb. And it's scary.
What makes it scarier are the echoes. It's like being in a cavern filled with memories, all of them whispering to you about how much I've lost and how many mistakes I'm about to make and how I can't do it, because I'm done. I'm at the bottom. I have nothing.
The last time I published a book, I wrote it from a nice office filled with lovely art and cool collectables with a beautiful desk and a very comfortable chair and nice speakers playing great music.
Tonight, I sit in my bed, which is also my couch and my chair, on a laptop with headphones in the living room of my best friends' apartment, proofing the final print copy.
Last time I published a book, I was living a life based on what I thought everyone else needed and wanted from me. I was hardly whole. I spent every single day of my life making sure everyone else got what they needed and what they wanted. And I had a few people in my life who leeched every drop of blood they could get out of me.
Tonight, I have just read through the "Thanks" page in my book, which lists literally dozens of amazing people who in the past year have come to my aid and stood by my side and, in three specific cases, physically held me up when I needed them most.
Last time I published a book, I thought I knew who Joe Peacock was.
Tonight, I definitely do.
Life is different. Life is scary. My brain keeps screaming at me, saying I should just go get a job. And I might, if I can't make this work. But goddammit, I'm going to take my best shot at making my entire life about doing what I know I was put here to do.
So tomorrow, I'll announce the pre-sale and all that. But for today, I'm just concentrating on breathing.