Friday, January 30, 2015

What happens to your brain before publication?

Something happens to your brain just before your book comes out. The thing is you have had your eye on the end product. You have been writing a book for years then in the very recent past you have been editing it. This process has distracted you. Then in that lull before publication you suddenly realise that you will have a book published. It will be read by other people. It is done. It is too late to tell anyone that maybe you need just one more crack at it.

Then something terrible happens to your brain. It is a complete rewiring. Only days ago you could catch a glimpse of yourself in reflection and shrug. Ah well, you could say to yourself. I'll do something about that later. Now, with a book coming out there is no later. Everything is imminent. A photograph in the paper is a possibility. Criticism is imminent. You don't want to look the way you look. You want to look like someone prettier, taller, statuesque, anyone in fact, except yourself. A weird feedback loop has begun in your brain. Your thinking becomes circular. Every criticism of every book or film or meal or anything at all is a reminder that you will face your own critics very soon. Every bad line you read in someone else's book could be your own.

I have been here before. I know what is happening. Still it happens. I am not the only writer who feels like they are standing suddenly naked in front of a stadium full of people.  I send a pdf of the book to people who are going to help me launch it and I scribble an apology alongside the draft - sorry if you don't like it, you don't have to read it all, I understand if you decide you don't want to help me launch it.  OH IT IS AWFUL. AND I HAVE ALMOST 3 WHOLE MONTHS TO GO!