Glurp. It’s that wobbly fortnight before a book comes out. A time of wild seesaws between wanting everyone and no one to read it. What if the jokes fall flat? What if Great Aunt Budweiser recognises that little toe shaped like a chilli pepper on page 57?
There’s something so vulnerable about writing, like baring your knickers in public. From picture books to novels, the themes you choose and the words you use reveal a deep part of you to complete strangers. There’s the risk of stories not gripping, plots springing leaks and characters not convincing.
I guess that goes for any act of creation. There must be artists who long for their paintings to be unveiled to the world and at the same time hidden in a darkened cellar. There must be dancers who dream-flit between Sadlers Wells and an empty room.
To misquote Lincoln: ‘You can please* some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.’ Which leads to the comforting thought: who cares? Just do what you do and then do the next thing.
Easier said than done. But it wasn’t always. In fact we were born doing it. Just give any toddler a paint brush. A green blob for a tree, a yellow blob for the sun, a jump in the sandpit and a mouthful of biscuit. What’s next?
So come on Abbie, Perdita, Squashy Grandma, Chester et al. Jump on those shelves and go where you will.
*He said ‘fool’ not ‘please’.