How to Kiss Writing Jitters Goodbye

My third book is releasing next fall 2012. My publisher met last week to discuss the title for the book. Surprisingly, they didn’t like my title idea this time. (Since they’d gone with my first choices for The Preacher’s Bride and The Doctor’s Lady, I’d assumed I was getting the knack for picking titles!)

But the title I chose for book 3 apparently didn’t fit my brand and my penchant for action, adventure, and romance. Thankfully, my publisher is wise enough to recognize the disparity between what I’d suggested and what actually lies between the pages of my book.

Anyway, my third book is in the process of getting its title, cover development, and in-house editing. As you may remember, I recently got my rewrites (and had a hard time processing them!). But as it turned out, I ended up making almost every suggested change my editors requested.

When I sent the revised manuscript back to them, I did so with a bit of trepidation. I couldn’t help thinking, “Boy, this is going to need more work. I hope they find additional issues for me to change so that I can improve it even more.”

I realize what’s happening. I’m in the process of falling out of love with my book. With distance and each additional edit, I grow more objective. I see the manuscript more critically. In fact, I even begin to wonder why I ever wrote the story in the first place.

Regardless of how I feel about it, the book is now headed down the publication pipeline and will be on shelves in less than a year. And even though it’s my third book, I’m still nervous! It’s especially hard when I get reports from readers who tell me they really enjoyed The Doctor's Lady and The Preacher's Bride because they’re based on true women from history. I can’t help thinking, “Oh no! My next two books aren’t inspired by real people. What if readers don’t like them as well?”

Twitter friend, Robyn Leatherman, is having her book debut in a few short months, and recently she said this in an email, “I have a feeling I'm getting those nervous butterflies of what-if-nobody-likes-my-work going on here. How do you cope with those jitters?”

No matter where we’re at in the publication process—whether beginner, debut, or seasoned—I’m realizing that we can suffer an attack of jitters any time or place.

So, how do we kiss our jitters good-bye?

Here’s what I’m doing to combat my recent case of nerves: I tell myself that I’m doing the best possible job that I can. I found a story that I wanted to tell. Then I worked incredibly hard to brainstorm and craft it into a book that I hope readers will enjoy. And I labored diligently to implement all of the various writing skills that I’ve been learning.

Now I’m putting the manuscript under the editing chisel. I edited myself, gave it to my critique partner, and currently my in-house editors are helping me shave off and add even more.

In other words, I’ve given the book THE best effort that I can (for where I’m at in my writing career). I haven’t gotten lazy because it’s my third book. And I haven’t started to take my readership for granted.

No, I’ve poured out my very heart into every page. If readers don’t like it as well as my first two books, it won’t be because I haven’t tried.

And that’s all we can do, dear friends—keep on working on our stories as hard as we can, keep on learning and growing in our writing skills, and keep on putting them under objective scrutiny. If we do that, then we can stand tall and proud of what we’ve done no matter the outcome.

Have you faced any jitters lately? How do you kiss your jitters good-bye?

Here's where I'm at this week in my blog tour!

Monday 10/17: I'm visiting with Jane Steen on her blog and sharing more about my writing journey. (And giving away The Doctor's Lady!)

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