A few weeks ago, I was part of a multi-author book launch. We launched ten books in one single event. Yeah.
You may have seen the celebratory pictures on Facebook. You know, the ones with people toasting large glasses of wine, the happy authors signing their books, or posing with the completed book with friends and family.
It all looks so shiny.
I hate that shit.
Was the night wonderful? Yes.
What Was Missing?
The part I don’t like is what’s missing from the celebratory pictures. For example:
- the twelve-hour proofreading sessions,
- the middle of the night panic attacks,
- the calling your editor in a clutch, wondering if it will be completed on time
And, oh yeah, the ever-present fear that creeps up and asks:
- What if everyone hates my book?
And to top it all off, I was plagued with a severe fear of running out of cheese.
This is what I want to talk about today. The pictures that are never taken. The unseen clutching panic. The fear of exposure. The cheese-worry.
The Behind-the-Scenes Experience
As a writing coach, I am privy to the behind-the-scenes experience. I see what the authors go through. I see all the baby steps the author must take to move themselves through their emotional tornadoes. And as an author myself, I am all too familiar with the ups and downs of making it to publication.
Don’t get me wrong. The launch was one of the best nights of my life. People came, they ate cheese, they drank wine. They purchased books. They listened to readings. They bonded as a tribe. My dreams for the night came true.
Yet the next day, I was talking to a writer who was complimenting me on the event. I said, “Hey, that could be you next year.” She responded, “Well, stuff like that is easy for you, but I can’t do that.”
Giving Yourself Permission to Roar
It made me think. My new book is called, Permission to Roar. My mission is helping women to reach deep down to find their voices and boldly own their passion and express it to the world.
But part of owning and expressing your voice, part of the author’s experience itself, is learning how to dance with your fear, without letting it stop you from dancing all together. Because taking creative risks is not easy. Stretching your skin, moving into realms you have never moved in, can be downright terrifying.
I’m telling you this not to scare you, but to empower you so that when you come face to face with feelings of terror, when your inner critic whispers things like Who are you to dream so big? Or, You can’t pull this off, you will know that that is not the end of your experience.
Feelings of terror, panic, fear, wild vulnerability, and worrying about cheese, are all moments along the path.
My suggestion to you is this.
When the fear threatens to engulf you, keep walking. Even though your legs feel wobbly, keep walking. Talk about the fear with your writing tribe and keep walking. Gather your strength when you are ready and keep walking.
And one day, you will find yourself walking into your own book launch celebration. And someone will snap a picture of you toasting with a glass of wine and think, how does she do that? It must be so easy for her.
But how did she do it?
She kept walking. One baby step at a time.
(Oh, and we did run out of cheese. And I just ordered another one so all was well in the world.)
Photos curtsey of Marni Freedman