My Sweet Lizzy Love,
I miss you so much it hurts. And the kids, man, my heart aches not seeing their little faces smiling up at me! You’re on my mind constantly and I long for you to be with me again.
This week has been one I’ll never forget. It’s felt like a year wrapped in a week, wrapped in forever—not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. It’s just a thing, and that may be all right. I barely even know where I am right now. I think I’m in Dallas, but maybe that was yesterday. :)
Anyway, I had my first round of interviews today.
So so intimidating!
My heart was pounding the whole time—a combination of excitement and utter dread. It was almost impossible for me respond with more than one syllable. You know how I get: I have these thoughts in my head, but I just can’t get them to escape my mouth.
They asked me where I got inspiration for the book. After a few painful moments of stammering, I managed to spit out that ideas just kind of come to me.
Seriously, that’s all I said. The woman stared at me for a moment unsure of where to take the interview next. Then I said something like, “I know, it’s a boring answer.”
The rest of the interviews went about the same. Pretty horrible, huh? They asked me things like, “How does it feel having your first novel published?” or “Has it always been your dream to be a published author?” I did my best to respond, but once again, my ideas came out as fragmented nuggets of idiocy. You would have known exactly what to say. You’ve always been able to voice my thoughts better than I can.
Anyway, I wake up every day without really waking. I feel like I’m experiencing an hallucination. As if at any moment someone will tap on my shoulder, and I’ll wake up in the library—plot points scattered around; my computer curser blinking out taunts, daring me to write a word. Just one word.
And that petrifies me!
I really can’t believe I’m a published novelist. None of this is actually real, is it?
It would be so much better though if you were here. It just feels like something is missing.
Well, Sam is knocking on the hotel door. Who knew an agent could be so needy! I will write to you the next time I have a moment.
I’ve got a confession. I know you always tell me not to look at online comments or read what critics say, but I did. I just wanted to see how people were responding to the story. But it was a huge mistake! Sure, there were a lot of good things written about my book, but all I can replay in my head are the negative reviews.
One guy with the handle NoobKiller wrote, and I’m quoting word-for-word, “Nathaniel Thayer writes like hes scarred of the world. His ‘book’ is full of so many clichés, he should just tatto the words ‘walking cliché’ on his forehead. It would save us alltime. Or he could just crawl in a hole and dissappear.”
First of all, yes, I am scared of the world, but my story is a horror story. It’s supposed to spotlight our darkest fears and give us a place to pack them away. If my writing somehow exposes my own dread, then I’m okay with that. And second off, well, I don’t know how to rebut the cliché thing. Maybe I am a big ol’ cliché. If that’s the case, I haven’t figured out a way to fix it. And thirdly, if a troll is going to critique someone’s writing, it needs to at least use spell check. Yes, I referred to a troll as it.
I know, you’re going to tell me to ignore the ignorant ramblings of a basement dweller. But I just can’t. NoobKiller wasn’t the only one who said stuff like this.
I just hate how people judge my writing as though they could do any better. I guarantee those little critics have no real skill. I mean, they write reviews. How hard is it to say you don’t like something? Now, writing a story, making it come together into something so real that readers become connected to it, now that’s talent. I’m not saying I’m able to do that, but my stories aren’t trash! They aren’t!
I keep having these fantasies that I find this so-called NoobKiller and just mess him up. A few baseball bat swings to the soft tissue would do the trick. Or even better, an assault on NoobKiller’s emotions. Find his weak spot and crush him into a mental breakdown.
I know, that’s not who I am, but I can imagine it, can’t I?
These people act like I don’t have feelings. Like I’m just a computer spitting words out onto paper. It’s not like I’ve spent years with these characters and treated them like my own kids or anything.
Sometimes, I don’t know why I started writing in the first place. You know I can’t handle criticism at all. It makes me want to run away and give up.
And I absolutely hate that we’re apart. Why aren’t you here? I need you. It’s so lonely without you and the kids.
You promised you’d be here for this, but I guess that was just an empty gesture.
I feel like I can’t do this anymore.
I wish you were here to help.
Dang it, Sam’s here again. Time to put on a happy face and stumble through an interview.
I haven’t been fair to you. I know you’d be here if you could, but it’s still hard without you in my corner. I don’t know why I came on this tour in the first place. I was so excited to have my book published. It’s all I’ve wanted since the first time I picked up a pencil. But sometimes, I wonder if I would be happier if I worked a normal job. One where I had a set schedule each week. Where I wouldn’t have to deal with publishing companies or interviews or feelings of self-doubt. It would be much simpler if I had a job that didn’t require my heart to do it.
I’m being dramatic, I know. I mean, a lot of people are buying the book and actually liking it, but my mind fixates on the negatives. All the time. I can’t sleep. And I’ve been trying to work on ideas for my next novel, but I’m coming up empty. My imagination is just gone.
Maybe I’m a one-hit wonder—there I go again, cliché central. I don’t think I'm cut out for this. Maybe I’ll go back to school and work on a degree in accounting or something in technology. I’d be happier, I think.
And I wouldn’t have to be on the road anymore, getting stuck in these tiny hotel rooms, overlooking cities I know nothing about, surrounded by my thoughts.
It’s getting unbearable being separated from you guys. Is this how I’m always going to feel? If so, I don’t want this anymore.
I’d do anything to stop feeling this way.
Well, I don’t know what else to say, so I’m going to try to sleep.
I love you so much,
Sam just informed me my book made it onto the New York Times bestselling list. He’s given me the day off and wants me to explore Chicago to celebrate. But I can’t get out of bed. I know I should be thrilled about the news. I’m finally on my way to success, yet, I feel off. I haven’t written anything other than these letters since starting the tour.
What if my creativity really is lost, and my book becomes a tiny asterisk in a mediocre life? I’m sure no one is going to read the book after this initial excitement anyway. It’ll be forgotten. I’ll be forgotten.
And I feel like I’m losing you too. The longer I’m on the road, the less I feel connected to you. I should just come home and pretend this never happened.
I want to hold you close and feel your warmth. I want Easton to drive me crazy with his endless questions, and Annie to climb all over me leaving a snail trail of drool. I just want to be with you guys again. And I don’t want to feel like such a failure when everything points to the opposite.
I don’t think my mind wants me to be happy.
I miss you dearly,
My sweet Lizzy,
I was in a really dark place in my last letter. I truly felt like there was nothing worthwhile in my life anymore. I’m so sorry that I laid that all on you. You don’t deserve it.
But the good news is, I’m finally on my way home! It’s been such a busy month and a half. I’ve promoted my book non-stop in over 25 cities, and experienced things I never thought I would. It’s been exhausting and difficult, but somehow worth it. I’ve met so many amazing people who have really fallen in love with my story. And that’s made everything worthwhile.
You’ll be happy to know I’ve finally taken your advice and am avoiding message boards completely! They were just making me crazy. But the majority of real people I meet all have positive things to say about my book. It makes me feel confident in my abilities. Do I always feel confident? Definitely not, but I’ve learned that I’ll probably never feel that way all the time, so I shouldn’t waste my energy obsessing over it. I’ve got more important things to do and hopefully a long career ahead of me.
This adventure has made me realize that writing, entertaining, storytelling is what I’m meant to do in life. The feelings I get when I write something, something that I hope will connect with people is incredible.
As I’m writing this, I have goosebumps thinking about this gift I’ve been given. The gift of creating. The gift of using words to make lives better. It’s, well, everything!
I’ve even accepted the promotional side of everything. I don't think I’ll ever get used to giving interviews, but I think I’ve gotten pretty decent at them. I only stumble over my words a few times during a sit down, rather than every other sentence!
Who knows what the future will bring? But I feel more and more able to handle what’s to come. This is who I am, and I won’t give up on my dreams. Heck, my dreams are already reality!
My only regret is that my words don’t have actual, tangible power. Not only to scare, or uplift, or entertain, but to bring you back to me. I wish my words had the power to give you and Easton and Annie life again. Or the power to go back in time and stop you from ever getting into that car.
But, until the day comes when I can hold you all in my arms again, I’ll keep you alive through my writing and through my actions.
I love you guys more than anything in the entire world. And even though I miss you profusely, the pain is not as excruciating as it once was. With your spirits by my side, I can do anything.
P.S. Give Easton and Annie kisses from Daddy.