Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Expose Yourself

Writing a book that had elements of me and my personality was nerve-wracking.

I had no problem doing the writing--but when it came to pushing the actual publish button I felt like I was standing on Madison Avenue naked.  I had second thoughts and regrets, felt exposed yet exhiliarted, and the book was not even available to anyone yet.

But there was a stronger need to get the book out than to let the fear win.  It was not an autobiography and I had to remind myself it was NOT a diary--but a study of a dark personality. 

The writing was cathartic and unnerving.  It dug up corpses I thought would surely remain buried.  I had to deal with emotions I almost forgot I had--and then live with them.

Weeks and weeks passed and I realized I could no longer pretend the emotions and situations the book revealed were just a side effect of writing a novella.  So I faced them.  Friends had to deal with my sudden changes in mood.  My blog had become a dumping ground for every angry thought and question I ever had. I am not even going to mention what my poor family had to go through.  (But thanks if any of you are reading this--friends too.)  I also realized who my real friends are--are who are not.  And I made some great new ones while meandering this unexpected path.  :)


After three days of shock, depression, and a dawning of what I was doing wrong and silly in my life--I faced my demons.  Holy #$%.  This was better than psychological rehab.  I'm not saying I am normal and perfect now and I will never do anything wrong again as long as I live--but I am saying that writing that book (100 Unfortunate Days) allowed me to clear the bats from my belfry.

Oh, there are so many cliches, quotes, and sayings running through my head now:

It's always darkest before the dawn.

You must do the thing you fear the most.

Honest is the best policy.

Just do it.

They all apply--and there are more but I will stop here.

So I guess what I am trying to say is expose yourself.  Let the real you out.  Let it scare the hell out of you and tear everything up in its path.  And when you come out on the other end get ready--you will feel like Rip Van Winkle waking up after his 100 year sleep :)

(The image at the top right is the potential new cover for 100 Unfortunate Days--what do you think?)


  1. I remember a friend asking me why so much of my writing had my experiences interwoven. For a while I pulled back and couldn't write. Not that anyone would have ever know some of those experiences where based on my life, since everything I write is paranormal/suspense, I knew.

    In the end I told him, because as a writer, I'll always be there woven into the tapestry of my words. We can't help but judge the world and give our characters our references in life.

    So glad, like me, you were able to work through this. (Hugs)Indigo

  2. Thanks Indigo!
    You are right. We cannot help but add our own color to everything--we can't help it.
    We try and be neutral...ha ha :)
    We are probably nervous about ALL of out books because even though they are not listed as autobiographical, they kind of are.
    *Big hugs back to you*

  3. To start with the easy part: I genuinely like the original cover of 100 Unfortunate Days. The new cover is creepy, but I'm a fan of the first! Of course, if you believe changing the cover will bump sales and help get your name out there to the world, then go for it!

    Now for the more difficult part: I agree: there's no story with any soul that doesn't have some of the author in it. There was a time, early in my writing life, when I wanted to deny that and wear a shirt that said, "I am not my writing!" I realize now that there isn't any writing without me, that no matter how abstract, I'm still exposed.

    I had a friend who used to see me in all of my stories. That was terrifying and stopped me from even considering publication for many years. As I've developed more confidence and skill, I've been able to weave in bits of myself without all the angst and emotional attachment.

    Still, if the writing isn't moving you, it won't move the reader. Honesty is exposure. 100 Unfortunate Days was disturbing, beautiful, dark, humorous, and so very human; I'm glad you decided to take that naked walk down Madison Avenue!

  4. Aniko-
    I am with you.
    I love the first cover but it is not eye catching as a teeny tiny little box for searches. The nice thing is if it does not work out I can always switch back. (One of the lovely things about the digital revolution...)
    Honesty IS exposure.
    My husband swears 100 Days is an autobiography--and now also thinks I am mad. Or madd-ER...
    I read a post on Facebook yesterday. The author quipped that she writes nice, sweet, safe books--but she wants to write more wild and intense stuff--to let her other side out. Maybe we all do. Maybe that is what all those self-help books are about.
    Maybe we ALL need pen-names...:)

  5. I think all publishing is exposing our vulnerabilities. The night after I published The Imaginings, I had a dream where I was talking with an agent or publisher, and while they were saying all sorts of nice things to me, they were talking s*** about the book behind my back. One of those dreams where you wake up knowing exactly why you had it.

    I imagine it's even more intense the closer you are to the material. Can you imagine what it must be like to publish an autobiography? Yikes.

    And I have to agree on the cover. I like the original better, but I can see the eye-catching aspect (although the new one makes it seem more like a YA novel... maybe it's the cartoonish aspect). I just went to Amazon to look at your thumbnail. What if you darkened the tone of the "scrawlings" from the first one and maybe made the title and your name a little bigger? And the white around your title bleeds a little into the surroundings. Maybe some sort of border? I dunno. Just a thought.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

    1. I agree that the new cover is very different.
      I love the original--but I have decided I'm going to try it with the new and see where it goes. The pic caught my attention and I want to see where it takes the book. It will be a neat experiment.
      Your dream is like that old giving a speech in your underwear dream--just a sign of insecurity, right?
      And noooo--I don't think I would want to do an autobiography...I'd probably never sleep again...

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks!!
      The artwork really grabbed me and I want to see where the pic takes the book :)
      Glad you like it.
      Hope you are doing well.

  7. When is 100 Unfortunate Days coming out in paperback, huh, huh, huh????? ;-) Seriously, I really, really look forward to buying it!

    ALSO - I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award - I'm pretty sure it's not something recognized by some organized body of blogging professionals, or anything, but it's fun, if you'd like to participate! Check my blog for more info:
    Some Dark Romantic

  8. 100 Days should be out in about 2 weeks with the new cover as a BOOK!! Woohoo!
    Yay!! Thanks so much for the nomination!
    I'm going to your blog now :)

  9. Dear Penelope, I need to write to become free. I'm writing you because my writing concerns living people.I'm wondering if you know of anyone who could help me through this process.If you may be able to give me some guidance or to point me in the correct direction. I'm hesitant to give my email: If nothing else, I sincerely thank you for reading this and I wish you much continued success with your writing!


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