On Being Vulnerable

Have you ever had the dream where you’re naked in a public place? You’re lost and late and don’t have a stitch of clothing on?

Maybe it’s just me.

If you’re still reading, someone once said when your book is finally published, and strangers are reading your words, it’s like standing on a busy street corner butt naked (or buck naked, if you prefer). I couldn’t agree more. Whether it’s your first book or your fiftieth, you make yourself vulnerable.

Not everyone is going to like your story. Not everyone is going to like your style. There are people out there who don’t like chocolate or bacon. Those are the people who don’t like my stories. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Thinking about EXPOSURE and VULNERABILITY is enough to make anyone want to hold onto the bud-stage as long as possible. One more edit. One more read-through. One more month.

Finally there’s the moment when you know it’s time to let go. It’s time to publicly agree with your editor and/or publisher that everything that can be done has been done. Secretly, you know there’s more to do, that if you tweak it here in this chapter or there in that scene, it’ll be more “perfect.”

Your breathing is labored. Your heartbeat is like a kettle drum. You have a flash of Sally Field saying “You like me! You really like me!” juxtaposed with Marlon Brando declining his Oscar on some weird principle which I’ve forgotten. (Thank goodness authors are much more unknown, ya know?)

Suddenly your book is “out there.” You can’t hold the bud back any longer, it’s blossomed. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Except breathe.

And hope there are a lot of chocolate-lovers and bacon-lovers in the world.


It’s all better with friends.




Author: Peg Brantley

With the intent to lend her stories credibility, Peg is a graduate of the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy, attended the Writers’ Police Academy conference, has interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, human trafficking experts, obtained her Concealed Carry Permit, studied diverse topics from arson dogs to Santeria, and hunted down real life locations that show up in her stories.

15 thoughts on “On Being Vulnerable”

  1. Ah, Peg – pay attention to the bottom of my post. I get that feeling of “oh no, what have I done?” every time I push “send.” But you’re right, it’s gotta be done. And sometimes we’re even rewarded.


  2. Great post, Peg! I haven’t had a book release yet (hopefully someday!), but every time I share my manuscript with someone new, the vulnerability is tough! Rest assured, bacon and chocolate-lovers abound 😉


  3. Great post, thank you. Yes I do have that dream, naked, lost, looking for the psychology final which I’m late for and cut the class all semester and never read the book and have no idea where the class is held.


  4. Ohmygosh, I love this SO HARD! That Anais Nin quote is one of my faves. I think this is especially speaking to me because I’m almost done with a revision and then I’ll upload the manuscript to my Kindle, read it all the way through (ideally, without taking notes), and then my little bud needs to freakin’ bloom. [And on a different note, I love the buck vs butt naked, because both of them stop me when I see them. Same with ‘you have another think/thing coming.’ Ain’t language grand??]


  5. I know Mary, right? “It’s gotta be done.” Ouch.

    Good luck on that August release, Samantha! Woohoo!

    Kate, you will have a book release. You’ll be standing around naked like the rest of us.

    And Keenan, if you don’t get to that class and take the final and pass the final you fail. Ugh.

    I’m excited for this new of yours, Becky! [I think it’s think, but I could have another think coming.]


  6. SO VERY YES!! And that Nin quote has pushed me out of the nest (squawking!) so many times during my life. Along with Just Do It (thanks, Nike). Love it, Peg. Thank you.

    ps: Tee hee! I know it’s debated, but I don’t know why it’s debated: first there is one *think,* then there is *another think* coming. Can’t understand what “thing” would mean in the second spot… 🙂


  7. Cynthia, you reminded me of another inspirational quote I used to have near my computer. “Zoom-Zoom!” from the old Mazda commercials.

    It’s awesome to see you here, Diane! Let me guess, are you wearing yellow today? Or maybe peach? I love how you dress happy. Me, I’m mostly black. Except for when I’m not.

    LOL, Sue. Good Friends Bring Extra Clothes.


  8. Never knew that quote was Anais Nin. It’s wonderful. What a great, and true, post. Thank you for expressing so beautifully that wonders, awesome, awful, inspiring experience we all aspire to!


  9. Sheila, I sort of think anyone in the arts makes themselves vulnerable to criticism. But maybe writers most of all, considering the amount of time we spend creating one thing. (And I love that you stopped by, my friend. xoxo)

    Oh Kait, you make we think we’re all just plaine crazy. I suppose there’s some truth to that though. 😉


  10. Hi Peg! I missed this post when it first came out, but I am glad to be reading it now. It perfectly describes what I’ve been going through for many years. Also, thank you for bringing Beatrice to the Sisters in Crime-Colorado networking meeting yesterday. I am so glad that I ended up going. 🙂


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