And guys: it’s available for preorder! Yes, now! I shit you not! I’ve learned that preorders are—wait for the pun—life or death (bahaha)—in the Wild World of Book Publishing, so if you’re feeling like you might end up getting the book at some point between now and your funeral anyways, can I encourage you to just buy it now? With just a few clickety clacks on your device today, Jeff Bezos will drive that baby out to you on May 7th!
Enough about me, now onto you.
Book-Writing Things I’ve Learned that Might Just Help You Live Your Own Life Even Better:
We can do hard things (yes, like the most excellent podcast). Embarking on a giant, juicy goal can feel daunting, especially when it’s of the glitter-covered Dream Come True variety. Big endeavors can feel insurmountable, but like any giant journey, if we put one foot in front of another every day, after a week we’ll have covered some ground . . . like Annie Lamott’s ‘bird by bird’ story. (If you don’t know this anecdote, please read this now and then come back to me when you’re done. It’s okay—I’ll wait.) What hard thing are you postponing because you think it might be “too much” for you to handle, that you’re maybe “not up for the challenge,” or that you’re “too tired”? Energy is rarely drained when chipping away at projects that matter; energy is created from giving those things a go. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for and I know you know this is true.
Deadlines are EVERYTHING. If I didn’t have a date on the calendar to submit the manuscript to my editor, I’d still be toying with the font size on page one and how plumped the pillow behind my back should be to create The Optimal Writing Condition. (GUYS: this is true for our lives, which is the whole point of Four Thousand Mondays and You Only Die Once . . . that we need regular coffee visits/happy hours with the Grim Reaper to stop taking our time for granted.) What big goal of yours could use a good old-fashioned deadline? Do you need to register for the marathon next year so you’re motivated to train for it? Do you need to tell your friends your plans so they hold you accountable? Do you need to announce your “coming soon” new business/ webinar/ podcast/ on social media? Do you need to hire a coach to hold your feet to the fire (in a flame-free way)? I know great coaches so reach out for a recommendation if need be.
I love stickers because I am 7!!
Visual + audio motivation helps. I tracked my word count with a sticker book (one sticker for every 500 words or every hour of work). Ask The Husband: that sticker book lived on our kitchen counter for months, and I’d proudly (and loudly) announce to him and Andy the Cat how many stickers I had earned at the end of each day. (The Husband coddled me like a good partner should, and Andy didn’t really give a shit, but still.) I also made a playlist I listened to only when I was writing or drawing (I got psycho-superstitious about it—I could listen to no other music when working on the book). This ritual got me into a rhythm of “It’s Book Time, Bitch,” and I loved it. Is there a visual way you can track your progress? Is there a playlist that might get you up and at ‘em?
Learning is like oxygen. The publishing world is so mysterious and fascinating to me, and I love learning about it bit by bit (like how the manuscript is in the copy-editing phase as we speak . . . where hopefully my excessive dashes and ellipses don’t end up getting buried alive . . . and that a UK editor is currently British-icizing the book). Are you getting enough learning and growth in your life these days? Are there ample opportunities to feel like a beginner again? Are you willing to forfeit the “expert” identity that fuels your ego—even for a bit? How can you put yourself in a learning role—through a new hobby, language, or interesting task at work?
“It’s a shameless game.” On a recent call the publicity and marketing crackerjacks at the publishing house said those words—that “it’s a shameless game”—this phase I am boldly entering into of asking famous people to pretty please read my book and then pretty please like it and then maybe say something nice about it. Asking for endorsements is not for the faint of heart, and yet I have consciously decided to BE BOLD about it. My inclination is to cower and not bother these people, and yet. I’m so possessed with this mission, this conversation of getting the word out that WE REALLY MUST LIVE BEFORE WE INEVITABLY DIE, that I could care less if Liz Gilbert doesn’t ever return my emails. (Lies! I will care, but I’ll be okay.) You know how I mentioned the podcast above— the We Can Do Hard Things one with Glennon + Abby + Sister? I’M BEING BOLD and I’m going to gently stalk Glennon until we talk/ have a book party/ go on vacations together. (I typed that here so I am accountable.) (Also—I’m fucking shameless now! Oprah, set up the chairs in the garden for our chitchat!!) (*Insert nervous laughter here.*) Back to you! Where do you need to be a little/ a lot more shameless? Where do you need to focus on the “what do I have to lose?” question that almost always yields the answer that gets us up and out of our fleece-lined comfort zones?
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. I can’t wait to thank so many people in the acknowledgments section of the book because holy cow—I admire and appreciate people who are talented and committed at their jobs (oh, like agents and editors and Husbands, just to name a few). OMG I just came up with a ridiculous (and possibly illegal) offer! If you preorder a ton of copies of the book—let’s say 33, yes 33, that’s it!—and send me a receipt that you’ve done so by 10/31/23, I will include an ode to you in the acknowledgments section in a fun and heartfelt way. I think I can do this because I haven’t written that section yet . . . so I think there’s still time!? (I can’t tell if this is the best idea ever or the worst idea ever. I hope to live to tell the tale.) Are there people in your life you’d include in your own “acknowledgment page”? People who have helped you in big ways, small ways, unexpected ways? How can you share your gratitude with them?
Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me that you read these articles, that you share them, that you care enough about your life to want to live it with gusto-before-you-go. And because I am playing a shameless game, I’m also going to assumptively thank you for ordering one of these babies today. (Or 33!!)