Tuesday, May 15, 2012

8 Lisa Burstein on Writing Naked

All I have wanted my whole life was to be a published author. Sure, I wanted other things, but this dream was the main dream. The one I saw as proof that I had "made" it. Well being on the other side has changed that thinking a bit. I don't want you to think I'm one of those ungrateful authors that is going to say, be careful what you wish for, but here is what I didn't expect being published would feel like:

1. Writing is work now- I used to use writing as my escape. Now that I have been published it is a job and it HAS to be good, or at least what my editor and agent thinks is good.

2. I am out there- I have opened myself up to criticism, to people either liking, loving or hating me and that is scary, damn scary.
3. I am obsessed with numbers- Twitter followers, Goodreads shelf-ads, sales. This book that is art, that is a part of me, my deepest most real feelings, is now a commodity and that is damn scary.
4. I have deadlines- I am working on a new book and it needs to be done by a certain date. I have to write everyday whether I feel like it or not.

Of course, there are things that are great about being published. Really great things:
1. I finally know I am doing something right. When you are writing for years and years and years in obscurity like I was, it is impossible to know if what you are doing is working. Being given the opportunity to be published lets me know it is.
2. People are actually reading my work and enjoying it. I have fans. I have people who I am touching. There is probably nothing better than this.
3. I get to see my book- as an actual book and not just a word document.
4. I am now a published author and no one can ever take that away from me.

I am probably being too honest about the bad things, and I am definitely forgetting some of the good, but that is the way I am. Would I go back to being unpublished? Probably not, but I do miss the freedom of just writing without thinking about the end goal. About whether it will sell. About whether people will like it or hate it as much as the first book. About whether being published will finally be a cure for obscurity and insecurity. I am unsure if those feelings ever go away, whether you are published or not.

Just like I learned to write, I am learning to be an author. It is a completely different experience. I have told my husband it feels like I am naked on the internet waiting for people to like me. Before I was just sitting in my office writing furiously waiting for people to like me. Before I had a door I could close, a blanket I could wrap around myself. But now I am inviting people in and it is terrifying and exhilarating. Lisa Burstein


  1. Love the post! It is truly inspiring, hearing about so many authors' transition getting published. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to reading Pretty Amy!

    Visit my book blog, The Bucket List

  2. Great post! I love Lisa's honesty about both the good and the bad. Congrats on the release of your book!

  3. Thank you so much your honesty, Lisa - it's nice to hear some of my fears actually have a foundation and aren't totally groundless :) There are so many aspects to being published that seem terrifying. But I'd still like to get there!

  4. Awesome post!! Your transparency is such a blessing...wherever you are on the journey (just beginning, in the trenches, poised to publish, or on the other side), your feelings and worries and fears are universal. I <3 you so much for putting it out there. You ROCK!

    Congrats again on PRETTY AMY's Book Birthday! I hope you took the day to celebrate and shout and do a happy dance....or two :)

  5. Great post Lisa! You are absolutely right. Being published is a whole new world.

  6. So well said Lisa and so very true! Just loved the post - I can completely relate!

  7. Very deep and powerful, Lisa


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