Have you ever had a dream of accomplishing something big that seemed far away, and the vision of what you were creating kept you focused?
You worked towards that vision over the years, each step taking you closer to making it happen. And then it seemed that suddenly you’re on the other side of dreaming; it’s real, and it’s happening moment by moment! And surprise of surprises – arrival is not quite like how you imagined it would be. It can feel like waking up in somebody else’s life. This has recently happened to me. My dream was publishing a book.
I had an outrageous goal and I achieved it, but being a published author is not what I expected. I’ve been blown away to discover that book promotion requires my extroverted self to be very active, and yet I recharge my batteries by quiet time and solitude. Oh my.
My introvert-self sustained writing focus for four years, creating a strong story for my ideal readers. During this time, my introvert self also developed some fantasies about what life would be like once my book was published. I imagined I would be sitting back and collecting book royalties. People would be so entranced by my writing they’d contact me and pay me to support them to tell their stories. I wouldn’t be reaching out to others; instead, I would respond to readers getting in touch with me. My inbox would magically fill itself with interesting opportunities and people. I am humbled to discover that my introvert self did not envision how much time and energy I would expend to get my book “out there” in the world.
However, a wise part of myself knew what was coming. In a post I wrote several months ago, I wrote: The book publishing process involves launches and readings, as well as public speaking events. I’m an introvert who prefers to be quiet in her writing space, not in groups. However, by saying yes to publishing, I look forward to opportunities to meet my audience. I want to develop relationships with my readers, sharing what prompted me to write and what I have learned along the way. I get excited about that possibility.
Excitement about promoting my book kept me going for the first few months. I surprised myself by how much I knew about organizing events, public speaking, and creating new avenues of promotion. I’ve also been surprised by how much I enjoy being in front of audiences, speaking about themes from my book, about what I’ve learned, and how I support other aspiring writers. I’ve discovered a part of myself that I didn’t know existed.
All the externally-focused activity has come with a realization that I also need time to rest, that it’s not healthy to keep pushing when everything inside of me is screaming for a break. So I’m now taking time for pause and reflection. I’ve been recording my observations about “the other side of publishing”, a deep noticing of the differences between fantasy and the reality. The introvert part of me needs to recover in her quiet space, and I’ve been re-discovering what is deeply nourishing to me. Lately with the arrival of spring, I’m spending time outside in the forest or along the beaches of our local coastline. I’ve made a commitment to attend a weekly yoga class. I start my mornings with a few minutes of quiet meditation. These are the practices that will sustain me, no matter what my next steps might be. I will continue to take time out for myself, to rest and restore my energy.
Publishing my book has resulted in many unexpected outcomes. I have developed the strength to stand with my words, no matter what others may think. I trust that my book will find its way to my ideal audience. I have the ability to withstand whatever positive strokes or criticism that may be directed toward me as an author. My roots are firmly planted in the earth; I know who I am at deeper levels now.
Perhaps my biggest lesson is that publishing my book isn’t about me. It’s all about my ideal readers; you are the ones who kept me going through all the stages of manuscript revision, and now you are the ones who continue to be the wind at my back. I thank each and every one of you.
If you would like to learn more about my book and related events or about my writing programs, please go to my website, www.mariemaccagno.com/contact.