I am two days away from launching my sixth book – Charlotte and the Twelve – and right on schedule, I can feel my chest tightening, my jaw clenching, and my spirit twisting. I call this feeling the “Squinchy Ugly” because that’s how I feel – all tight and demanding and pushy. Ick! I hate it.
This morning, I had to sit myself down for a come to Jesus moment with me and, well, Jesus.
I’ve felt it coming for several days – this push to do more, to ask more, to beg and plead and urge to reach some really high goals I set for my launch. The squinchy uglies rose up when people said no to supporting my ThunderClap for very legitimate reasons (the one white person who said she and I see differently about race relations didn’t have a legitimate reason). They came swimming to the surface when my pre-orders weren’t hitting the goals I wanted. They blasted through my tears ducts when I had trouble with getting the book ready for the retailers.
So today, I sat. I took some deep breaths, and I listened. Then, I made a commitment to trust, to believe, and to let go. (Incidentally, that lasted about 30 minutes, and then I had to do it again. I expect the same pattern for the next 72 hours.)
Here are the things I am actively doing as this launch ramps up to Friday:
- I’m slowing down. My tendency for launches is to want to pick up the pace and push and push and push. But in fact, what I need to do is take a breath, observe, and watch. That way. I get to enjoy the process, not try to control it. So lots of yarn and lots of DVR for me.
- I’m trusting. I have a launch team of over 100 people who are committed to reviewing the book when it comes out, who are sharing the pre-order links, and who are, generally, cheering for this book in the world. I’m trusting them, and I’m also trusting the One who led me to write this book. It will get to who needs it when they do. (I’m really bad at this, incidentally.)
- I’m continuing. I’m continuing to promote the book as feels right. I’m continuing to fill my ThunderClap campaign. I’m continuing to contact people about speaking opportunities. I’m continuing with my plans for the book launch party online and the one here at the farmhouse. (You’re invited to both.)
- I’m praying. When I feel the squinchy uglies gaining strength, I’m choosing to go to my Center, the One who reminds me I am loved, I am enough, and that this is not something I can or need to control.
- I’m sharing. One of the healthiest things I can do for myself when I begin to feel this way is to share that feeling, like I am here. I share it with my launch team and with my friends, and somehow, the process of writing it out and putting it into words helps take away the tightness and airlessness of it all.
You may not be someone who prays, but maybe you meditate or find long walks meaningful. Your launch team may not be as large, or it might be far bigger. You may not have people who get this process, although I’m happy to listen if you want to write to me. But whatever you need to keep yourself healthy and excited during launch, I hope you’ll do it.
The truth is that we can control nothing about how our book is received. We can simply believe in it, share it and our truth around it, and watch what happens. . . and I, for one, believe that whatever happens can be and will be beautiful.
How about you? What’s the hardest part about launching a book for you? Or what do you imagine will be the hardest part when you come to that place? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.