So last night was one of those nights that just wouldn’t quit. My children were clingy after being away for a week. My husband caught a head cold while they were gone and was miserable. I am 8+ months pregnant and didn’t want to catch whatever it is he’s rocking, so I slept on the futon in my office. For whatever reason (maybe the glowing screen 10 feet away), I found it hard to settle. I was up until 1am, my oldest daughter had a nightmare at 4, and the baby decided my bladder was too full for comfort around 5:30. I did manage to catch a few snatches of sleep, but those moments of wakefulness in between were treacherous.
I could not stop thinking about the book. Am I marketing it right? Should I attempt to self-publish a paper copy? Are enough people seeing my Facebook posts? Am I being obnoxious with the Facebook posts? Are people going to buy enough copies this month to make the amount I donate to Operation Support Our Troops worthwhile? Should I look at using Smashwords to filter onto other platforms once my Kindle Direct period is up? And how quickly should I try and get my second novel up? What would I change the next time around? Should I try another round of advertising? Even though the last round definitely brought in new readers, I did not even come close to breaking even. How hard should I push myself, knowing that in less than a month my third child will arrive, and I will be once again swirled into the 24/7 life of nursing, napping, and diaper changes, wedged around school pickup/drop-offs and ballet and swimming? Not to mention the fact that in a few short months after that I will be uprooting my family from this lovely interlude in Singapore to return to my husband’s job in Silicon Valley….When on earth am I going to find the time to write the next two books in the series???
Is it worth it? Am I doing the right thing? Or is this just another creative outlet destined to bring me joy, but go no further?
I got up this morning and hustled my girls out the door to school, and laid down for a much needed nap. When I woke, I checked in with the social media engines that are my current obsession as I try to share my book baby with the world. What would I find? I turns out, I found my answer to all of the above.
A former colleague, who is now an elementary school librarian, posted a link to my book on Amazon, unprompted, and said that she was sad she had already read it, because it would have been the perfect book to take along on Spring Break. Not long after that, a woman I have known since our first year as dorm neighbors, contacted me and told me that she couldn’t remember if she’d told me or not, but she bought the book and loved it.
I tucked my babies into bed tonight and came up to my office with renewed purpose. I opened up Twitter just as an author I met through an online RWA class tweeted that she was halfway through my book and was rooting for my characters! Another author believed in them in enough to care about how their story turns out. “Keep writing, lady!”
There it was. The simple answer to all my whirling anxieties: keep writing, lady.
The word of the day today is gratitude. I am so incredibly grateful for the eclectic mix of people in my life who have supported me as I’ve tried to bring this little dream to life. When I look at the reviews left on Amazon, I feel blessed by the diversity they represent in my life. Of course, my mother and my aunt left notes, but so did my aunt’s friend, my husband’s cousin whom I’ve never met, my librarian friend from my teaching days, Lady A book reviewer and online book club friend, a fellow bus stop mom, and three ladies I’ve befriended here in Singapore, one from Texas, one from Italy, and one from Australia. There is a microcosm of my life reflected in the support for this book, a glimpse of the wealth of support I feel in my life from friends, family, and strangers. I am so grateful to each and every one of them. I am so grateful to have had the opportunities in life that have come my way. I am so grateful that, in my attempts to reclaim my sanity after the arrival of baby #2, I created a book that has resonated with people and brought them a few hours of pleasure. For all of the attendant anxiety and failures that come along with going through self-publishing, I am filled with gratitude for the process that has helped me see the richness of my tapestry.
Keep writing, lady! Yes. Yes, I will.