This industry tends to wave away its corporate, transactional truths in favor of platitudes about passion and how lucky we all are to be here. But this illusion curdles when the lived experience of publishing a book breeds the same ungenerous anxieties of our high school years: over who gets to be a cool kid, whose success makes you feel insecure, who is getting what you want. Suddenly, this industry that demanded you align your worth with your work is whispering behind your back about how fugly your jeans are. (OK, fine. This is a ham-fisted metaphor, but stay with me.)
Of course, then, the thought of loosening your grip on the thing you can control, your art, may make you feel wild. When your work is the only load-bearing pillar holding your wellbeing aloft, it’s hard to see how doing right by your book may necessitate cleaving it from your sense of self.
Protect your heart, your good gooey insides, by reinforcing the boundary between who you are and what you make. Take a walk and smell some trees, have a meandering conversation with an old friend during which you don’t talk about writing once, go to therapy if you have access to it. Let the world around you grow larger than your work and see what new priorities form.
—Dana Murphy of the Book Group