Thursday morning I printed off a how to manual for formatting the inside of a book and sat outside highlighting the parts I thought would apply to the job ahead of me that afternoon. It was a beautiful fall day, enough to warrant (in my mind) printing the 70 plus page manual. Looking up, I caught this picture of our rooster, Joker silhouetted by the sun. You can see the farm stand in the background.
I started formatting around noon and by three o’clock I really wanted to go into the house for a drink of water or cup of coffee, but I made myself stay put in
the Ikea chair in my office. If I pushed, I could finish formatting the inside layout of my forthcoming book before the
kids’ bus rolled over the hill to drop them off, and I really wanted to be
Thirty more minutes and I had done it. All eighteen sections of my book were copied,
pasted and formatted into the layout template I purchased online. I felt like my eyes were going to fall out of
my head and I had spent the last four hours struggling to breathe for fear one
finger-stroke would blow the whole book out of the water.
This is how a lot of self-publishing has been. I was scared and overwhelmed by websites like
Createspace and Canva (Never heard of them?
I hadn’t either.) but I found them and set up accounts. I didn’t understand book formatting lingo and
the specifications necessary for designing a cover layout, but I googled
instructions, read them, and did it. Every
week brought a new skill to learn, a new figurative blank page that terrified
me to the core.
Making dinner in the kitchen while the kids watched TV in
the afternoons, I would sense my fear and anxiety. Why am
I so anxious? I wondered.
I don’t know what I’m doing, came the reply.
It turns out, I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing.
But I also tried to find perspective, You didn’t know what you were doing a week ago when you designed
the cover, but you figured it out. You can do this too.
I thought of all the times I’ve walked blind into new challenges, and although I
don’t like it at all, I kept on groping my way along the path of self-publishing. I think this is what some people call, “doing
it scared.” The idea of doing something despite your fear and not allowing fear to be the boss. Maybe “doing it scared” is the secular version of “walking by faith, not by sight.”
This is one side of my self-publishing story – I’ve done it scared. (Although I think the term ‘terrified’ would be a more accurate descriptor.) There’s been value in the challenge of learning new skills and overcoming hurdles. But it’s also been exhausting.
Friday night, I finally submitted all of my files to
Create Space (Amazon’s self-publishing site). This was the one step I was most nervous about. After submitting, I felt a breath of relief. Then, I laid down on the couch and fell asleep
at 7:00 pm and slept straight through until the following morning.
I think it’s important for others to be aware that there’s a
real cost to doing it scared. And, because
of that, I’m not sure it’s a value I altogether promote. It’s ok to be scared and important to not let
fear be your master, but sometimes our fear and stress are telling us important
“Doing it scared” can only take us so far without things like,
“doing it together” and “doing it with grace and a heaping dose of help.” Although I’m proud of myself for the work I’ve
done these past two months, I’m not unaware of the cost.
Also, I’ve not, by any measure, done it
alone. I’m grateful for those who’ve
come alongside of me to offer advice, encouragement and support. I hope my experience will help me remember to
take notice when others around me are doing it scared. Those are the times when we need to lean in
and offer help and support.
What have you “done scared”? What was it like for you?
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It’s official! My book, Chicken Scratch: Stories of Love, Risk & Poultry is coming on November 7th! Feel free to share this image on social media and stay tuned next week for more info one ways you can help get the word out.
One advance reader gave me a great compliment today. “It felt like sitting down with you over a cup of coffee and listening to you tell stories. I didn’t know how much I needed it.”
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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.
What if we chose to deliberately look for small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?
That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days. You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder. Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.
While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment. Thanks for being part of our community!