The Art of Letting Others Into Your Brain
As soon as I sent Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire out to its first reviewers, I was filled with anxious joy. My moment had come. People I had never met would read my book, get to know characters I created and hang out in a world that I created for them. It was exhilarating and like nothing I’d ever felt before.
And then people I knew in The Real World wanted to read my book too.
For me, there was something very intimate about writing the book. I put so much of myself into it. Molly’s running thought/monologue is something that runs in my own head all day long—mostly made up of things I shouldn’t say out loud. Although, to be honest, Molly is much better at keeping her true thoughts inside her head than I am.
Friends reading the book was fine. Having certain family members read the book made me a little nervous. What if Molly swears too much? What if they are made uncomfortable by the awkward hanky panky? What if they think I’m on the verge of a criminal lifestyle myself?
That made me feel a bit weird.
In my 9am-5pm life, I’m a graphic and web designer for a creative design firm. We design promotional material, including print material and websites. I’m confident in my web design ability and have never had any issue with showing my designs to the people I work with.
But when a few of them read my book… I wanted to crawl under my desk and hide.
To me, my work colleagues reading my book—something that is basically part of my brain scooped out and put between a book cover—made me feel vulnerable. None of my co-workers are the right audience for my book, so it’s not like I was looking for rave reviews, but if one of my co-workers wrote a book, I’d definitely be curious too.
I think it’s that I tend to be a certain way at work and more of a sensitive, creative type when I’m at home, especially when writing or working on crafty projects. I make those things for me. At work, what I’m creating is more of a project that solves problems. Sometimes being the only woman in the office makes me a little more prickly than I would be otherwise.
Being a sensitive artist is damn hard.
But I’m slowly getting better at letting people in my life into my weird little brain, via my book. I’m slowly getting better at feeling vulnerable.
It’s a process.
Jillianne Hamilton is the author of Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, its two action/comedy sequels, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII. She is also a graphic designer, a history enthusiast, and a dog mom. Learn more.