It has been six months since my November 6, 2018 release date for Two Minus One: A Memoir. I still routinely experience conflicting feelings of excitement, joy, doubt, and anxiety about the publication. I struggle to gain the upper hand. I fight to maintain the dynamic energy for the myriad tasks that remain in my path.
The stalwart support of my friends through this journey insist that my behavior and accomplishments can be described as nothing less than bravery. Yet, despite the gains I have made, I frequently feel more cowardly. I often sense only the burden of the setbacks. Technology remains a challenge I struggle to master. I look at numbers I do not clearly understand. Marketing and traveling are a source of both exhilaration and exhaustion.
At times I am afraid to believe in the possibilities that are available. I feel dizzy and immobilized by conflicting messages. I often put forth extensive amounts of time, still feeling I have accomplished little. It sometimes leaves me questioning whether choosing this path was the right decision. I often wonder, “What in the world was I thinking?”
Then came the moment when it became clear to me… books and babies. The writing and publication of a book was like the pregnancy, birth, and rearing of a child. As mothers, we become attached and committed to the baby in the womb – even before we know the potential of what we carry within. We do all that we can to assist and enhance the child’s development. We research and learn. We acquire and absorb every piece of knowledge available to prepare for the birth and delivery. We assure ourselves we are prepared to guide and parent. When the child is born, we are confident that all our dreams have been fulfilled.
Both authoring and parenting are fluid and fluctuating processes, unique to each author and parent. We are often in flux regardless of the knowledge, training, and support we might have or the direction we are certain we will head. Our creations develop and grow. Our attitudes, actions, and options must be continuously rethought and readjusted. Parents and authors become overtired, undernourished, and distraught when pulled in opposing directions.
Parenting is a challenging process with moments of sheer joy and feelings of accomplishment. First children present special challenges. We find ourselves sometimes awash in feelings of confidence in our knowledge and prowess in our skills. Yet, those feelings are replaced when we face the setbacks of illness, injury, and frustration. We struggle when confronted by the unknown. Doubt moves in and we question our choices. We worry over the long-range impact of our decisions. Luckily, we remind ourselves it’s all part of the package. We know time passes all too quickly. We must enjoy every moment that we have. We realize the journey will be ending all too soon as our children grow and move on.
Similarly, there are ups and downs as an author. There are deadlines I underestimated. Challenges I have yet to master. I often questioned my ability, dismissed any suggestion of talent, and struggled to maintain the pace required for conferences, festivals, and book tour events! But like a new parent, I was nudged back to reality and a renewed vision. I would receive a positive review. I learned that my book had been awarded a Kirkus Best Book of 2018 badge! I would receive a hug and a smile by someone whose life I had touched with my story and made better with my words. I would, like the parent who first receives an infant’s smile or a toddler’s hug find the strength and encouragement to continue.
I am determined to appreciate every moment of this journey. After all, it is mine alone and unlike any others. As with a first child, never again will I be able to say this is my first book. I will never again experience all the first moments – good and bad. I must embrace the wonder of watching my personal creation as I become increasingly comfortable in guiding the book through development, growth, and exposure. As with second children, next time the groundwork will have been laid, the foundation more secure, and the experience more relaxed, but it will never be the same as when experiencing it all for the first time.
So, I will continue to do what proved to be effective in raising my children. I will remain focused and strong. I will maintain my courage and fortitude and look ahead one step at a time. I will embrace the rare and unique opportunity I have been given and will remain proud of what I have accomplished. I will celebrate all that has been experienced to date and enthusiastically await all that is to come! I will remember to thank all of those who have made this journey one that will never be forgotten!