My little hobgoblin, and the hobgoblins of my little mind

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m writing this one from deep within the murky-water-filled, sleep-deprived, hobgoblin-infested trenches of motherhood.

You have been warned.

 #LiveTheQuest – 10:
How will you “publish” your project? #publish
Look back on your #burningquestion and #oneproject. How are you or could you get this project “out” into the hands and hearts of the people who ache for it? How will you publish it?

This is the part where I admit to being a sometimes careless reader. I’ve been stumped by this question for a week now. It has sent me down long and angsty thought-roads, brooding about the Big 5 publishers versus indie presses versus self-publishing. I toy off and on with the idea of just putting a novel out into the world via this blog, in Dickensian installments.

I even had a little, exhausted cry over it all this evening. The problem with my crying jags is that they tend to start selfishly (what’s wrong with me?? have I failed at LIFE??) and then morph into really impressively existential sob-fests (I am unhappy! Other people are unhappy!! Factory-farmed chickens are unhappy!! The world is a dark and dreadful place!! I want to save ALL THE CREATURES and yet I cannot and people are starving and other people don’t care and I can’t even cry pretty!!)

In a desperation with which my Sainted Husband has become intimately familiar, I lugged my laptop to him and read him the above prompt.

Me: I don’t know what to do with this!! [reads prompt]

S.H.: I really can’t help you with this one.

Me: Oh, wait. I don’t think I read the question right the first time.

Because my #burningquestion was about taking control of my own story, and my #oneproject related to that was about figuring out how to live my life one best day at a time, and ultimately these are very personal things and not really medicine for anybody else. I’ve blogged about them, mostly as a matter of personal accountability, but they’re not really things that I think about publishing per se.

But my misreading of the #publishing prompt has gotten me thinking. A lot. I don’t have any answers, either. Just questions about publishing, both in the strictly traditional sense of putting my fiction out into the world, and in the sense of putting myself out there along with whatever it is exactly that I have to offer.

I think that may be my hangup–I’m not entirely sure I know what it is that I do offer. I feel like a chrysalis, or like a duck’s feet, apparently motionless from the outside but going like mad beneath the surface. I’m becoming, and as I am a chronically late bloomer, this becoming business is slooooow stuff.

Also it does not help that I am typing this at 11 p.m. at the foot of my eight-year-old insomniac’s bed while he coughs and sneezes and moans because seriously, people, this kid is dying of the common cold right now and nothing in his world will ever be good and beautiful again because VIRUSES.

But anyway, questions about publishing.

1) How should I publish my fiction? I feel strongly about pursuing traditional publishing, but I know that the industry is changing and there are multiple options, and I’m the kind of person who second guesses herself about every second second. I veer wildly from wanting to publish traditionally to flirting with the idea of just putting a bunch of stories on my blog. I think about indie presses. I think about self-publishing, though to me this is the least appealing option because I am not great at self-promotion, which is a crucial skill for self-publishing success.

2) How should I “put myself out there” as a writer? Because again, I’m not a masterful self-promoter. I recently took the plunge and set up a Facebook author page, and I can’t even bring myself to invite people to “like” it because that feels disingenuous. I want to be very clear here that I don’t look down on people who invite me to “like” their pages. I just can’t bring myself to do it because when I think about it, it doesn’t feel like a me thing to do, if that makes any sense. I am in awe of people who are good at self-promotion.

3) What am I even doing, anyway? Should I even “put myself out there”? Where is this “out there” of which I speak? What does any of this even mean?!? Is anybody else out there wondering this stuff (please say yes)? What am I offering people? Does anybody really need to hear the stories I have to tell? What is it that I hope to achieve by writing books, anyway? Should I just grow up and get a Real Job (please say no)? And, for the love of all that is good and holy, IS THIS CHILD EVER GOING TO FALL ASLEEP??? (Please, PLEASE say yes!! Also, know that if you start spouting some ancient wisdom about how “these are the best days of my life,” I am not actually going to kick you in the shins, but I will be thinking about it).

So that’s all I’ve got. Questions.

Oh, and one more, which is more a rhetorical, philosophical sort of question than anything else:

If this child is not asleep by midnight, which one of us is going to turn into a hobgoblin first?