One of the key things when running a blog is consistency. As you can see from the fact I haven’t posted in over a month, I have not done great with that so far.
Let me explain: In deciding to launch my book at the end of the summer, I’ve had a tremendous amount of things on my plate. That’s not meant to be an excuse, just a fact. In fact, between trying to start a blog, getting my website up and looking the way I want (spoiler, it still does not look even close to what I want), starting a newsletter, getting the book to the copyeditor, doing cover design, getting back on Twitter, and doing my normal job, my online storytelling, and my freelance work, I quickly ramped my way up to 60 hour work weeks, often with several 12+ hour days. Again, not trying to medal in the self-abusive hustle game, just trying to set the stage.
Which brings us to April. By the time we hit April, I’d already been keeping an absolutely brutal schedule for months. I was exhausted and burnt out all the time, barely keeping my head above water, AND I had family coming in for Easter. I’d already realized that what I had going was not sustainable, but I wanted to get my book into my copyeditor by the end of the month and thought if I could just hold out a little longer, I could rest when I got it in (or when the book launched. Or I died).
Long story short, that didn’t happen. Two days after Easter, after a sharp decline in health, I lost my precious sugar glider of ten years, Thor. A few days later, I got COVID. I was still desperately trying to get my book in on time but between grief and just straight up not having the energy to sit at a computer, let alone to think cogently enough to actually do anything at one, I had to admit I needed to rest. I missed my first opportunity to do a public reading from my work, took multiple days off from both day job work and writing, and basically spent multiple days lying around, sleeping, or watching TV because I couldn’t do anything else.
And you know the craziest thing about it? I enjoyed it.
Did I enjoy getting COVID? No, of course not. Am I still sad over the loss of Thor? Absolutely. But what I realized while knocked flat on my booty was that I had literally forgotten what relaxing felt like. I’d been so caught up in working on things all the time, that I’d completely neglected myself on pretty much every level. I wasn’t doing my quiet times in the morning (or at least not good ones), my mind was constantly running over what was next, I was losing sleep, I was crabby, and I felt like exhausted wet garbage almost all of the time. I was completely burnt out.
Which leads me to the strategy I have since implemented for my book launch. I call it, as the title of this post suggests, the 10% Book Launch. Because the fact is, as much as I know I have to work hard in order to market and launch my book, as much as I know that working on anything with God does, indeed, involve work, I also know that: A. God doesn’t want me destroying myself over this (a clear sign I’m taking on too much of this myself), B. it’s not worth it to destroy myself over this, and C. no matter what I do or don’t do, no matter if my book succeeds or fails, God will get me and my crazy little stories where they need to be eventually anyway. That’s not an excuse to slack off, of course, but it does mean that I can love and take care of myself and those around me without ruining myself for a book.
So, where does the 10% come in then? The idea is simple. For all of the many, many things I want to do for my book, site, blog, etc., if I only accomplish 10% of them by the time the book launches (a.k.a. basically just launching the book itself), I’ll have succeeded. If I don’t get on X many podcasts or book X many events, that’s fine. If I don’t have a blog post every two weeks, okay. The only thing that matters is getting out the book.
And you know what? It’s working. Because while it hasn’t changed what I would like to do for the book, it has given me the grace I need to survive its launch. In April, I had times where I thought “if this is being what a writer is, I don’t want it.” Now I can be honest with myself and admit that I’m not a hustler. I’m not a solopreneur, or a marketing guru, and I can’t work at a breakneck speed. As I told Ryan J. Pelton in a recent interview (coming soon), one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me is the limitation of only being able to do a small number of things. I go hard on the things I’m involved in, so knowing that I have to limit myself and lean on others and God for the rest is an absolute blessing. It keeps me from going completely off the rails and burning myself out beyond rescue.
So, what does that mean for my current projects?
- I am still recovering from my hardcore April crash. I’m getting better, but still trying to take it easy in the meantime. Grace appreciated, all.
- I am still hoping to get the book out on time. The goal is August 11, and barring anything crazy, I’m optimistic I can still reach that goal. I’m going to be on vacation this following week and am hoping to smooth out any final issues so I can get the last few chapters into my copyeditor by the time I go back to work.
- For the blog, the goal is still to write two posts a month and/or every other week. I need to write more of those to get ahead (I’ve got a giant list in mind), but I’d still like to do it, with the caveat that if things come out a little late or get skipped here and there for a while, that might just have to happen.
- For myself, I’m trying to take better care of myself, making sure I get adequate friend/family/me time alongside my projects. I’m realizing how far away I got from Christ in this time and am trying to make that more of a priority. Prayers for success appreciated.
- Everything else is mostly just staying the same. As people will learn, I take my commitments very seriously, particularly those I’ve made to others, like my Storium games or commitments to family or friends, etc. I want to make sure that those don’t drop, so I’m trying to keep them a high priority without wrecking myself. I’m learning to make and keep better boundaries, working on being more honest with myself and others about my capacity, and trying to get better at asking for help when needed, even if it’s just to let others know what’s going on. It does make a difference, and I do appreciate any/all of you who fill those roles for me.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at for now. If you want to stay tuned for more updates (like the Prolific Creator interview I mentioned above), make sure to join my newsletter or subscribe to the blog using the sidebar. If you have any stories about your creative mindsets, perspectives, or approaches to launches, particularly in regards to burnout and boundaries, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Until next time! Toodles!