At the end of August, not quite three months ago — so a season ago — I baked a muddy intention in the kiln of resolve into a rock-solid commitment: I would write a complete book before my fiftieth birthday on November 5th.
I was serious. I cut out a lot of things that I’d been spending time on in order to make that happen.
Thankfully, I was sane enough to push the actual publication date out a week and a half, to November 15th, in order to accommodate a 9-day trip east for two back-to-back conferences and allow for some time to promote the book as well as to write, edit, layout, and design it, but the upshot is, I birthed a book in three months.
The Creative Sandbox Way launched last Tuesday. I had a week-long launch party with daily Facebook Lives, complete with daily free downloads and daily giveaway drawings, and lots of bonuses for people who purchased during launch week, all of which involved my building web pages and setting up membership levels and setting up emails and autoresponders, and more moving parts than a chess set.
Oh, and I also gave away $200 worth of art supplies to one lucky book buyer, too.
Today, as I record this, I closed down the bonuses page, announced the winner of the art supply giveaway (Rebekah Nemethy of Reflective Photos — congratulations, Rebekah!).
Then I collapsed in a heap.
Actually, that’s a bit hyperbolic. In fact, all week long I’ve been in a state of sort of continual collapse. After every Facebook Live I’ve felt utterly sapped. I’ve spent a lot of time lying on the couch, reading novels.
And it was in this drained state that a note landed in my Facebook message box that I really needed to read, from one of my Launch Team Ambassadors.
My Launch Team is a group of people who applied specifically to help promote The Creative Sandbox Way. They committed to write a review on Amazon, and share the book on social media, and with friends, and in exchange they got an advance review copy as a PDF, and an inside view of the writing, designing, publishing, and launching process.
I could not have done this without them.
Gina, of Around the Writer’s Table, wrote me the following note, and gave me permission to share it with you. In this letter she has encapsulated so much of what has been bouncing around in my own mind, and said it better than I ever could say it myself. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.
As I do my morning writing today, you are heavy on my mind.
As I have watched you these last few weeks—a dynamo of energy and mirth around the launch of your book—I smile at every milestone and hold you close in my heart for safety and joy on your journey.
You know the creative process, but I feel that I am supposed to remind you today of what you already know.
You have just gone through—actually, are still in the midst—of a massive phase of creative output. You are pouring out everything inside of you into us, into your book as your gift to us all.
The bombardment of ideas probably felt as if you were being pelted by paintballs. The hectic pace and lack of sleep, and maybe too much caffeine or not eating healthy, may be intensifying the sensitivity of your creative nerve.
You have been giving and giving, and pouring and pouring OUT through the entire process of book-writing and promotion.
If you haven’t already, you likely will move into a stage when you feel totally drained, nothing left, maybe even enormously deflated. You might even be disappointed, confused.
For certain, you are tired and likely will feel . . . empty.
Know that if you are feeling ungrounded, unfocused, maybe even a little disembodied, this is part of the natural cycle, the way of things when we pour our souls into a project the way you have.
As a writer, you want your message to be heard, and as writers, we all want—need, in fact—to have someone, anyone, listen.
What I see over and over with authors who self-publish, no matter the extent of their promotional efforts, no matter what their expectations, once the book is out, they embrace a sense of failure.
Here is where I caution you: DO NOT misinterpret your physical exhaustion and creative depletion as failure.
Nor should you measure how many copies your book sells now or forever as a measure of your worth in this world. It is easy to fall into that human trap of material measurement.
Your value to all of us cannot be gauged by the price of a printed book or the ranking on a bestseller list.
The people who need to hear your message will receive it. What you are sharing is valuable and necessary.
Your message, your sheer existence is a major part of what we need to heal our world, to have not only joy in the moment of creating, but long-lasting satisfaction of true self-expression and how we leave our unique fingerprint upon the world.
Expect to be tired. Expect to be deflated. Expect to feel drained and empty.
Now honor your creative spirit by giving yourself a refill. Do something (which just may be “doing nothing”) to allow yourself to heal and recover and rejuvenate, because there is so so so so much more.
You are an empty vessel just waiting to be refilled. So nurture yourself and permit the refilling to happen when and as it will.
Give yourself time and space and love.
But you know this.
In eternal service and everlasting gratitude—and with gianormous buckets of love,
Gina, I needed to read this. Thank you.
Resources In this Episode
My new book, The Creative Sandbox Way
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