The Writer’s Angst

0511-1103-0212-0510Angst is a powerful word. I prefer it to worry, anguish or torment. It sounds like a word that belongs to the struggling…you fill in the blank. I can’t use angst to describe my emotions when I write. That word belongs to much loftier writers than I will ever claim to be. James Joyce was the king of angst. He spent days anguishing over just the right word for his sentence.

Regardless, I do suffer from angst, not while I write, but the minute I type The End. Angst attacks and invades my brain like a possessive demon. I totally fall apart. First, my angst questions the worthiness of my manuscript. It’s not good enough. No one will read it. Trash it, all thoughts that rage in my head. That’s when I turn to my critique partner who assures me that it’s great. Not great, as in the next great American novel, but great enough.

My next bout with angst comes when I submit my first three chapters to my publisher. Four weeks after my submission, I expect to hear back asking for the entire manuscript. I have a timeline. If they don’t meet it, I’m thrown into the depths of hell. “I knew it. They hate it,” I wail to my critique partner. An entire week of cake and cookies has passed, feeding my angst. I finally get the request for my manuscript, only to have angst strike again when I think they’re going to pass on publishing my work. I hate that phrase “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to pass at this time.” Does that mean they’ll take it next week? My angst doesn’t end until I have the contract in hand.

It’s over you say. No. It’s only begun. My next bout begins as soon as the final edit is returned to the publisher. I’m beginning to hate this book. Marketing…this is where angst grows to mammoth proportions. Selling myself is not high on my like-to-do list. I feel like a prostitute beating my drum for readers. I won’t even say it’s limited to Facebook because I’m all over the place. I stand on the corner of Twitter and WordPress if anyone’s interested. I do everything that’s required. I attend book signings. I tweet. And I blog. All creating greater angst.

And then, we have the rankings and reviews. Hours, days are spent dissecting these dreaded author haters. I stand in judgment as they strip me of my confidence. It’s only when I get a good review that I can raise my head and stare the beast in the eye.

The worst is when a friend or family member informs me that they’re reading my book. Angst goes through the roof when I hear this. I feign a contagious disease to avoid the holiday dinner. Anything is better than listening to them dissect the book I bled over.

Writing is a roller coaster of angst. It’s a good thing I like the word.

First published on Southern Writers Magazine: Suite T


Book cover 9313 029Patricia Hudson was born in Wales, U.K. As a young girl she moved to America with her family and currently resides on a small horse farm in central Illinois, with her husband, David, two dogs, and her beloved quarter horse. She has written seven books: Stolen Hearts released in 2013. The Call, Love on the Double T, Love’s Deception, and The Exchange to be published in 2014. Also in production are The Circle, and Jana Morgan, PI. Join her on Tweet on
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My Roller Coaster Ride with Amazon

Do you have an Amazon author page? If not and you enjoy roller coasters, I suggest you get one. I count my pulse rate whenever I visit. It’s a great way to get the heart pumping.

There are days when the roller coaster is at the bottom of the incline and my heart plummets.

“I’m doomed,” I whine to my husband who is my greatest fan.

“Check it tomorrow.” We go through this once a week. “It will be better tomorrow.”

The next day I check it again. I know I shouldn’t. It’s barely moved.

“I’m flat lining!” I wail to my greatest fan when he comes home that evening.

“You are not dead,” he laughs. “It’s not going to change that quickly, unless you sell two hundred books in one day.”

I laugh hysterically at such a silly thought. “You’re right. I’ll wait for three days.”

The next morning I’m busy writing, but my fingers feel the itch. Just a quick peak, no, I’m waiting three days, I vow.

Somehow I survive the wait. My heart flutters in my chest. I pull up Amazon and follow the trail to my author’s page. There it is, taunting me, the tab for rank looming on the page. My mouse hovers. What if it’s lower? What if it hasn’t pulled me out of my near death limbo? I move the mouse away.

Maybe I’ll wait another day…who am I kidding? It’s a damn miracle I waited three! My hand creeps back. My finger presses the left button. I close my eyes before a graph appears. I visualize my ranking. I’m in the top one hundred! I burst out laughing at the insanity of my thought.

With my eyes closed, I push away from my desk and go to the kitchen to make tea. It seems cold in the house, so I check the thermostat. Apparently it’s just my lack of blood flow because it’s not far from 80 degrees in my house. The tea kettle whistles. Carrying my tea, I return to my desk. I can’t close my eyes or my tea will spill and scald me.  I try not to look, I really do. And then I buckle up for the ride, the dreaded ride.

My heart surges. That line, the one that brings me pain and joy is climbing. Yippee! My graph is moving! Sigh. I’m not dead. It’s adding another mountain to the drawing of the Alps I’ve got going. I’m on my way to the peak again.

“It turned,” I say to my husband as he walks in the door. No hello, how was your day, just, it turned.

“You knew it would. How many times have we gone through this?” How sweet. He said we. He shares in my pain.

For the next few days, I can check my Amazon page.  I know the routine. It will clamber up the mountain, and bring a smile to my face and a flutter to my heart.  But I know what’s coming. It will reach the peak, and you all know what follows. It takes the downward spiral to the depths of hell. And so it goes my roller coaster ride with Amazon.

To find Stolen Hearts on Amazon:


Released 2014

Stolen Hearts    

Coming in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:

The Call

Love on the Double T

Moody Gallery