Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Heart of my heart, true of my true

As I've mentioned before, writing braggy things about myself is not really my favorite kind of writing to do. And, as it turns out, writing braggy things about my book kind of falls into the same category. Unfortunately for me, a big part of being an author in this techno-savvy world we live in is constantly saying "Look at me! Be my friend! Buy my book!" Let me just say up front that I hope I never come off that way. If there's one thing I want to be it's genuine.

Anyway, this moment of reflection is brought to you by the fact that I have to write a press release. I've never written a press release in my life, so I'm eternally grateful once again to my publisher, Cedar Fort, for teaching me all the things. Still, I'm pretty sure it's going to feel a little like writing my biographies, so I'm trying to pump myself up for it. I've been back to feeling totally overwhelmed and inadequate when I think about the fact that I've written a book and (insert all the things I'm feeling second-rate about), so I thought I'd do a little pumping up of the self by talking about who I am and what I'm good at.

Let's start by saying this: I'm realizing these two things more and more...

1. I'm trying to remember that I'm still young and in a super transitional phase of life.
2. This is my beginning.

You know what I love? Seeing pictures of beautiful women who I really admire... before they really fit into their own skin and knew themselves really well. It gives me hope because I know I'm not there yet. I like to think, at the ripe old age of 26, that I'm totally myself. That I have myself figured out. That my sense of style is spot-on. Bah. Yeah right. Just like I watch my daughter throughout the day and catch glimpses of that inner self, that girl I'll still see in her eyes her whole life through, I have moments of reflection and realization when I think to myself, "Oh. This is right. This is who I am." Sometimes it's on an especially stylish day. More often it's when I'm gluing pom poms to cardboard circles for no apparent reason.

We took the last week off from book writing and optometrist-becoming and preschool-going to visit Bryan's parents and his little brother. While we were there we looked around at a model home (which, ahem, there's no way we could afford, so, Mom, don't give up hope yet that we'll never move back to Oregon). The home was beautiful. It was gorgeous. And it wasn't even some mansion home. It was just a little condo, basically a cross between a big apartment and a regular-sized townhouse. But the details and the layout made my heart pitter patter. And it was sometime after being there and then returning back to our funky little townhouse that we call home that it kind of hit me; we only have two more years of student life left. My mom went back to school when I was little, then I was in school, then college, and then even after I graduated my dear husband has still been in school. So in a very real way, the student life is all I've ever really known. It's going to be a shock to our systems (but, ya know, hopefully a really awesome shock) when Bryan graduates, gets a job (fingers crossed), and we actually start paying off student loans instead of accruing more. And he won't have homework to do all evening! What will that be like?

I'm so happy and comfortable in our current situation and our little townhouse is cute and funky and just the right size for us, so it's easy for me to forget that it'll only be for a couple more years. New schedules, new address, new life. Thank goodness for keeping the same family. :) Still, the point of all this rambling is that, even though my situation feels permanent now, it's not. And as much as I hate to admit it, some of the things I feel insecure about really could be solved by a little extra funding.

So, dear self, you should feel like a champ. You make do with thrift store and Craigslist finds. You make business cards out of cereal boxes. You have no idea how to use your camera, but you photographed and wrote a whole book anyway and it's getting published this year. Someday you'll take classes and buy better equipment. But for now you're making it on cereal boxes. High five, little selfie.

All of this also helps me recognize that I'm still in my beginning. My first real camera. My first book. I knew that publishing a book would be an enormous learning process for me and, by the way, so far I am totally right. (Like, for instance, who knew being an author means writing press releases? But anyway...) My editor and the whole team at Cedar Fort has been so patient and kind. My marketing guy was actually the one who coached me into sending in my book proposal in the first place. I mean, seriously, who does that? These people are so nice and I am learning so much from them.

One of the biggest things I'm learning is to ask a lot of questions. People don't always tell you things unless you actually put forth the effort to ask. When is this happening? How does that work? I'm sure I've asked hundreds of questions already and that there will be even more in the future. And the more I learn, the more questions I have. I'm so grateful for a team of kind, knowledgeable people willing and eager to give me answers. One of my friends asked me the other day if I'd ever consider self-publishing. Ha. No. Well, I guess that's not entirely true. My back-up plan if I couldn't find a publisher was to create an e-book version of my book, but I'm so glad I didn't have to do that. Some people would thrive on that kind of a project. I would have died. I'm so happy to finish my part and send it off to someone else to make it look all fancy.

But I'm getting distracted. The point is, I'm still at the beginning. And, for better or worse--but mostly for better--that means I still have so much to learn. I read a quote today that said to "never compare your beginning to someone else's middle." This rings true for me in so many ways. In publishing my book and in every other area of my life, I'm trying to focus on learning from those around me instead of feeling utterly behind.

And here's one last thing I've been learning about myself. One of those eternal glimpses I've had whilst hot-gluing pom poms to cardboard circles. I like simple. I need simple. Simple is at the heart of my heart, the true of my true. I admire the complex and the intricate. I ooh and ahh over beautiful details. I love to see it in others and occasionally dip my toes in it. But, deep down, who I am and what I am is simple. This is what I have to offer to the world. Perhaps not the cutest, frilliest, or trendiest thing. Perhaps not the most beautiful, most delicious, or brag-worthy thing. But if you're looking for simple, I've got it. If you want help making that thing as quickly and easily as possible, I'm your girl.

Dear self, say this when you market your ideas and your creativity to others. Give up on being all the things you know you're not. Be simple.


Bryan Lewis said...

I really like this one, Katie.

Kathy Haynie said...

Now you have me really curious to read the press release. Wise words from your inside self. Thanks for being so real and down-to-earth.

My advice - after you write the press release, let it sit for a couple of days and go do something fun/playful/simple. Then come back to the press release and keep the best parts. Leave it alone to simmer on the computer for a couple more days. Then come back and finish it up. Give yourself permission to take a little time on this.

Skye said...

Congrats on writing a book! That is so cool!
Also, these thought provoking posts are always my favorite of yours. You are so right to say we are just at the beginning. Thanks Katie!

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

I think your inner and outer self are both pretty awesome.

And I can testify that student life does eventually come to an end, even though it seems to go on forever.

nick said...

Good reminder...it sure is hard to not think that "this is it...my life, who I am..." but we are only 26! Life is still a long road stretched ahead of us and we are just starting to be who we want to become. I need to remember that more. Way to go Katie!