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Labor Pains

My 70-year-old chosen sister-in-life is about to deliver a baby, and the labor pains are a killer. Her “baby” is her first book and the labor pains are especially horrid because she has to upload everything electronically to a behemoth publisher that doesn’t have time for hand-holding its first-time authors. It is a insanity-inducing process that is taking its toll.

She sent me an e-mail last night asking me for technical advice, which I didn’t have the expertise to give. Instead, I wrote back, “Calm down. This will not kill you if you lose a few days. There have been many times when I’ve had to just let things go to the wind. Your book will be ready when it is supposed to be ready, men in black movie not one minute sooner. So, just go through the motions and enjoy the process!”

It was probably not the most sensitive way to handle my loyal friend’s feelings, because she’s so close to what she is doing and is really striving to push this thing through right now. She wrote back and reminded me of the chaos I faced when my first book, Hard Won Wisdom, was released the day before 9/11. “I doubt if you relaxed and enjoyed that. True, there is no comparison, at all, with my little technical speedbump, but it just shows how anything, at any time, can throw a curved ball.”

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The truth is, I didn’t enjoy 9/11 any more than any other American, nor did I like having to figure a way to make my book succeed in that difficult environment. But, once the shock of the unthinkable tragedy set in, I did regroup, figure out a strategy and enjoy my moment. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve got so many photos of going on the road, catching up with old friends, promoting my book, speaking, doing television and pushing for my dream. It was an incredibly chaotic time and I had no control over what happened with my book. I could only control one thing: My enjoyment of the moment. I laughed through it. I lived it out loud. I had so much fun, because that was the only first book experience I would ever have.

I want my friend to have fun with her moment. She has earned that. She’s worked so hard on this book and she should be able to soak that up at every turn, even when it gets a bit gnarly. If publishing were easy, everybody would have a book out there. I just hope she embraces this huge achievement for what it is, enjoying it in all its magnificence. So what if the computer is giving her trouble. Look what she’s doing!

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Yes, life throws lots of curve balls. That’s what makes it so interesting.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courageous and creative leadership strategies.

1 Comment
  1. Fawn, I love it! The fun began this gorgeous, sunny morning as I read the above post…about me. (Fawn’s my best buddy). Who’da thunk that I would become a Type-A personality this late in life? At least, I was last week trying to get my manuscript and cover design ready and today, arrrggghhh, the burden is upon me to transmit it all flawlessly to the printer – an institution which I am very much in awe of and therefore, very nervous about.

    Fawn,in that same email, I said that I couldn’t think far enough ahead to imagine the fun. You know what? That’s not so, I realized yesterday as I walked to Caladesi Island along the beach. I’m already having fun dreaming up the biggest, most preposterous, book promotion/marketing scheme you ever heard of, which will be a blast if I can pull it off. It is not a small plan, believe me and it will be a real hoot if I’m allowed to do it. You don’t know about this audacious idea yet because it has been forever and a day since we’ve taken an exercise walk together, and frankly, I will feel silly telling anybody until I know if it will fly…which could be four to six weeks from now.

    In the meantime, I chuckle to myself along the beach. writing life large in my imagination. My problem is that I’m a Wide-Screen Dreamer and not a Nitty-Gritty Detailer and these pickly little duties (like, ummmmm, sending my material off to be made into a book)get in the way of the really big stuff that I suddenly think up to do to take it to the next level. So, the frustration lies in the perceived holdup of plans. I want to do it all at once…and therein lies the wisdom of the speed bump.

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