On the morning that the book released, I ironed a shirt for Kyle to wear to work like I do most mornings. Later when Laura called to ask how the day had gone, I had to get off the phone quickly to pull the girls' dinner out of the oven. I laughed as I remembered that the very day I signed our book contract, I spent most of my time refereeing spats between my girls.
The truth is, I have no idea what I'm doing.
The truth is, not much has changed.
The truth is, I don't know how to be here.
Writing the book was a very intense process, but it was internally intense. Laura and I shared in our struggles together, and our editor Jonathan became a third curve in this tiny circle of three as we talked and wrote and worked our way through the pages.
Promoting the book is something altogether different. It is, I'm discovering, very externally intense.
For years, I've seen writers bemoaning the book promotion process, and I have to confess to you that I didn't have much sympathy for them. Oh, you wrote a book? And now you have to tell people about that book? Oh, poor you. Poor, poor published author. That must be so hard for you.
My utter (and now embarrassing) lack of grace has returned to me in full as I begin to fully understand what it is about the book promotion process that is so very difficult. It's not the work of it - the writing guest posts, the soliciting print media, the drawing upon every part of your network - that's so awful. I mean, it's hard, but it's doable.
No, what makes it so difficult is the blurring of the line between promoting the book and promoting oneself.
And I've spent the last few weeks completely dreading the coming months because I can barely talk about my blog with other people without flushing and blushing and stuttering and stumbling all over the place. But now I have to spend the next few months talking at length about something that is far more personal, far more intimate, and far more cherished by me than anything I've ever published here.
The anticipation of this part of the process has taken its toll.
My TMJ pain has returned full force. I've got a mouth full of canker sores, something I haven't suffered from in years. Suddenly, I can't sleep. My head hurts and my house is a wreck.
Thankfully, God in His mercy has spoken truth into my life, and I woke up this morning turning it all over in my head and it is grace to me.
The first dose of truth arrived to me in a conversation at Blissdom. It was, as the best part of conferences tend to be, totally unexpected and exactly what I needed. I had lingered after the opening reception to visit with friends, and eventually sat down with Robin while she ate dinner and I picked her brain about being an Arist.
Robin and I met through Laura at BlogHer last summer, and I have so enjoyed getting to know her. Through our conversation, I came to realize that promoting the Art and promoting the Artist are two different things. Robin helped me see that if I could hold the Art out in front of me, that if I could have razor sharp focus on our message and the passion I have for spreading that message, that publicity and promotion is not nearly as squirmy and uncomfortable as it is when I think I'm holding myself out for others to see.
The second dose of truth came to via my dear friend Kelly who shared this article from Don Miller on self-promotion. As I've mulled over his words, I've found renewed energy in remembering that I don't have the luxury of saying Golly Gee! Aw shucks. I've got this book but don't read it if you don't want to and kicking at rocks and basically bailing on the work in its moment of need.
I've written about the call to enflesh The Work that comes to you, but writers in our generation can't stop there. We have to introduce The Work to our friends and hold its hand and help it find its place.
Is it hard and uncomfortable? Yes. But I love this Work more than I hate talking about myself. And so I will not, I cannot, abandon it now.
Our official blog tour kicks off tomorrow and it's going to be two full weeks of online promotion. We have guest posts and other online appearances scheduled even after that, and of course, there's the real life book release party (please say you are coming, Oklahoma friends!).
Before it all begins in earnest, I just want you to know that behind the curtain, I'm trying so hard not to squirm. I'm still the girl who spelled her blog name wrong for two years without knowing it. I'm still the one whose child has pooped on the floor of the public library. It's still me who misses deadlines and flakes out on promises and cries in public and watches too much TV.
And even now, someone is reading and rolling eyes and thinking oh pobrecita! you published a book and now you have to tell people about it? Poor, poor you. I know. I get it. But I just needed a moment of transparency with you.
To balance out all of the emphasis on our book, I'm planning to finally get to the stack of books I've been wanting to share with you - some that I've been planning to talk about since last year. It would make me feel so much better to be able to talk about the other incredible works that have been given flesh by someone that might be just what you are looking for right now.
Thanks for letting me confess. It is always, always so good for the soul.