I never thought of research as something I’m good at, but I’ve been knee-deep in it for over a year. It dawned on me this afternoon that I’m very good at researching topics that interest me, but terrible at required academic research. Now that those two concepts are separate in my mind, I can safely say I’m pretty good at research (as long as it’s not scholarly).
From a publishing perspective, I’ve been researching other authors’ successes, failures, and experiments since before my book went under contract. I’ve read articles about what worked and didn’t work for various writers, Facebook-stalked dozens of authors’ pages, and read countless articles about sales theories and algorithms. Lately, now that my book launch is on a short countdown, I’ve been filling my time by reading and watching author interviews. Learning from those who paved the road before me— from their mistakes and successes— helps settle some of my nerves about marketing and publicity. As my 2018 calendar fills up with author events, I’m trying to use the next month and a half to imagine myself in the place of interviewee. It’s alternately scary as hell and really awesome.
This morning, I went over a list of possible questions for one of my first scheduled interviews. I was happy to see that I get a list of what’ll be asked now rather than having to think of answers on my feet, but I’m sure there’ll still be a fair amount of work done on the fly. It’s pretty cool to look at the questions ahead of time, though, and at least get a handle on how I might answer. Some of them are standard, but several are thought-provoking, and I’m surprised to find that I enjoy thinking about my answers. In some ways, when the questions pertain to the past, digging for my answers is like opening a memory vault. Pretty cool, even if a few ghosts escape.
I really, really need my back to cooperate so I can run again. I’ve been walking 9 miles a day, sometimes more, and doing pushups until my left hand goes numb. Nothing compares to the emotional release I get from running, but I tried a ten-minute stint earlier this week and I’m not convinced my back is ready. My mind is beyond ready, so hopefully my body gets on board very soon. Running is how I break apart anxiety that otherwise threatens to nail me to the floor.
I also need some decent shirts. All those pushups are making my shoulders and chest fill out, and my closet is now full of tops that are too tight for comfort. When I try to hug someone (which I don’t do often, but still…), the seams of my shirts threaten to bust. I guess it’s a hazard of the author job— needing new clothes due to intense bouts of exercise used to combat marketing-related anxiety. I’ve definitely faced worse obstacles, but I hate shopping.
About that anxiety. It’s serious business. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, or like the air’s been sucked out of the room, or like I’m falling down a bottomless hole. But I’m also on top of the world about finally clawing my way into authorship, and truthfully, the anxiety cloak would be here in some form whether I’d made it to “author” or not. And I’m getting more excited and hopeful as events start getting scheduled, so it’s not like all of my life right now is covered in angst. It’s just that I am who I am, and even when I’m happy, there’s a nagging demon or two in the soundtrack. The good news can pile in (yay!), and I’m grateful, but I could really use a long run.