Nerves

I see myself as calm, in control. I don’t flap.

And then I have to go to an airport, train station, bus garage and I go all to pieces.

Perhaps it’s a residue from my holiday planning incompetence.

We travelled back from Scotland a few days ago. Fight at 7pm. 2-3 hour car drive to Glasgow airport. Left at just before 2pm. All went smoothly until Loch Lomond and the traffic snarled.

I felt the panic coming. I became indecisive, fractious. The satnav said turn off the main road but the alternate route looked significantly longer. Views were expressed but I just gripped the seat and urged the driver to go faster, even if only to close the gap to the next hold up. We made check in with 10 minutes to spare. The family all laughed while I practised breathing and tried not to hate everyone and everything. In the end the flight was delayed by 30 minutes….

When I worked full time as a lawyer, I had no difficulty sleeping, however stressful things became. Others complained of sleepless nights, chemically induced slumbers, a foreswearing of caffeine after lunch. But I just got on with it.

And then I hit 50 and gradually I woke earlier. Still I fell asleep in moments but I’d come to at 5am, 4am. And in the half sleep when I knew I was in bed and who I was but I was still really asleep, I was utterly completely panicked. A disaster awaited me. I tossed, turned and was in turmoil. The only way to break free was to get up, have a pee and go back to bed, wide awake but clear headed. There was always a solution: some problems weren’t problems at all. I’d go back to bed and take time falling asleep but it would come. I knew, next morning, I’d feel just a little bit washed out.

Now, when I’m no longer tied to meeting schedules and deadlines and closings and more meetings, I sleep fine. The habit of a trip to the bathroom remains but that may be part of the shrivelling, sagging saga that comes with age.

Now my nerves are confined to transport hubs and…

Publishing.

When I set up my first book, all formatted and ready and all I had to do was press ‘publish’ I froze. I felt sick, I shook. I stared at that little button. It seemed like a nuclear option. I waited until help arrived. Then my finger was guided to the button and ‘boom’. Nothing exploded, if you ignore my heart.

I’ve now done the publishing bit twice. Was it easier second time? Nope, it was dreadful. I did it. I did it alone. I played it cool, made it sound like a mere bagatelle. But my heart raced, I sweated like a liquid salt mine and my stomach… we don’t need to hear from my stomach.

I’m pleased it’s out there, my second book. I’m very happy with it. But I’m also still so nervous. A bit like sending my children to school. Someone else is now in charge able to influence them, to say they know them better than I do. How will they be received? What will people think of the job I’ve done with them? No longer are they mine, if ever they were. Just the same as with my books.

Will this get easier? You know, I hope not. Pressing publish was exhausting but after, when I’d had a cup of calming tea it felt so GOOD. My children have turned out ok, despite what I did. And I’ve done my best by my books and characters. I think I can be quite proud of them all, but, hey they are what they are. I’ve let them go and worrying will do me no good now.  And the occasional praise makes it all worth the effort.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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32 Responses to Nerves

  1. It’s amazing what a cup of tea will do. Well done for having the courage to press the publishing button!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on publishing your second book Geoff, what a wonderful achievement that is. Despite it being terrifying it must also be one of extreme pride. You did it! 🙂

    Like

  3. Meredith says:

    I like your ability to write with a dash of humor.

    Like

  4. roweeee says:

    Well done, Geoff. I felt a bit like that writing my post about homelessness today as it was an important issue but it is something of a hot potato topic and I wanted to show respect for Tim and his dog and give people a few insights without offending. Clicking publish on these types of post can be a bit stressful but I just need to have a bit of faith after putting in the hard yards and I’d imagine it’s the same with the novels xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jan says:

    I don’t think it ever gets easier to push the publish button! (BTW – I have the same nervousness about traveling! I drive people crazy with my often irrational worries!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ali Isaac says:

    I dont think you need have any worries about your book-babies going out into the world, Geoff. Your writing is fab, and so are your kids from the sound of it! The nerves and self doubt are what make you be the best writer/ daddy you can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ritu says:

    A certain amount of nerves are healthy! Well done from having the courage to press publish! I am still finding the courage to finish the book, let alone get around to publish!

    Like

  8. Sacha Black says:

    Blimey if thats the only time you get nervous – before you press submit, I think you’re doing mighty fine Geoffle Pard. I will be proper shitting my pants before I press submit! and by the way, if your books are anything like your flash then they will be awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Autism Mom says:

    The nervousness’ intensity is directly proportional to how much you care. When you stop feeling nervous about it, that’s when you should be worried. 🙂

    Like

  10. noelleg44 says:

    Your humor about the things that make you nervous is refreshing! I’m the same way about getting to flights on time and never sleep well the night before.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I feel the same way each and every time I hit that publish button. Our characters (and our stories) are like our children, or at least our kin and we feel both scared for them and proud that we let them out into the world! I agree with you, I don’t think that feeling is ever something we should take for granted.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Awful though they are, those moments of stress and panic somehow help to make the after effects even more enjoyable. Not that I ever think that while it’s happening…
    And, as you know, I loved “Dead Flies…”, and am looking forward to getting to “My Father…”, so I’ve no doubt you’ll have picked the right moment to release them into the wild

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rachel M says:

    I’m totally with you on the cup of tea and I don’t think I’m a calm and relaxed person. Publishing a book is a huge thing! Congratulations to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Anxieties and (non)sleep patterns shared by many of us who have reaches a certain age!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. rogershipp says:

    I find these future happenings (for em… I hope) intriguing to read about. I have no idea how I might process these happenings. I am having a difficult time in the conceiving of my book-children. I love to hear your reminiscings and reflections!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Charli Mills says:

    I used to get Sunday night jitters and couldn’t sleep, knowing Monday would resume the work week. I sleep so grand now! I get jittery thinking about “publish.” Maybe I’m holding on to finding an agent as a way to avoid having to be responsible for pushing the button. This gives me the most hope, though: “My children have turned out ok, despite what I did.” I’ll keep that in mind because I have three awesome kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Norah says:

    And justifiably proud! What an achievement Geoff. Children and publications – all! 🙂

    Like

  18. Jools says:

    Having just returned from an overseas trip myself (a fabulous writing retreat in France), I can totally relate to your ‘travel panic’ as I have to out myself as a fellow sufferer. I ‘need’ to know I will get to the airport on time and will allow an absurd amount of buffer time in case the M25 chooses this particular day to come to a 25-mile standstill.

    Ditto the publishing – with the topic of my first novel being in many ways contentious as well as gritty, I felt that blood-running-cold feeling when I pushed the button to upload/publish. I felt sick for a week afterwards, but eventually it passed.

    Unfortunately, as one of the very few Brits who loathe and despise even the smell of tea, let alone the taste – I didn’t have that comforting cuppa to fall back on. 😦

    Like

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