I’m unsettled in my spirit today. It’s a feeling I know well because it comes when I do something risky, something that I cannot make thrive on my own but something I believe in.
It’s raining today, gentle and soft, and that’s fitting for a time of waiting. For me, waiting often comes with tears, and so the rain mirrors my soul – or maybe I mirror it.
In a few days, my newest book Discover Your Writing Self will come into the world. At this point, I have only a few more things I can do to help her thrive – a cover adjustment, an email, a reminder to the amazing launch team that supports this beauty. But beyond that, I have done what I can do.
Resisting “Do More”
Yet, our culture is one of “do more.” Strive. Hustle. Post. Share. Cajole. Promote. More and more and more. And I feel that pressure against my sternum, weighting down my breath. My fingers get itchy because I want to control this launch into the world. I want to “make it happen,” as someone I know used to say.
I always bristled against that statement because when he spoke it, it was a pressure to his son or to me. It felt leaden, heavy, as if sheer force of will is what always determine the efficacy and success of things.
Life has taught me that my ability to control even the things I most care about is very, very limited.
What I Can Do
So I do what I can. I write a good book, a book I believe in. It’s a book that speaks the truth as best I can breath it. I hope it is balm and goading to those who read it. . . a reminder that we have work to do as writers and a salve for the shames and the shoulds that are heaped on a writer’s shoulders, sometimes by our own hands.
Then, I put a marketing plan in place, and I execute that plan. I ask for help, and I am not shy about sharing what I have done, even when I feel like a braggart instead of the supplicant to teaching and truth that I am.
Now, the book written, the plan moving, I am asked to watch. I am asked to sit in, if not quite repose, reclined anticipation and see what comes. I am not great at resting, and I’m even worse at waiting.
Waiting to see if a book will sell is yet another long line in lifetime’s teachings on this subject.
Even as I write that sentence, I want to justify, to say that I don’t believe in the unicorn magic of book sales, that I know they take work. . . and I do know. But I also know there is only so much work that can bear fruit without watching it grow.
So I watch now. I pray. I hope, and I wait. And meanwhile, I work on the next thing.
How are you with letting go of control of your writing once it goes into the world? How do you prepare for that release? How do you ready yourself for the wait?