Don’t Worry, Keep Writing

imagesThis week on the Ball we’re all talking about what we’ll do differently for our second books. Right now I’m in the painful throes of writing said second book and it’s hard for me to look beyond just finishing the first draft. But I WILL FINISH. I hope. And when I do and the book comes out into the great big world, this is what I’m going to do differently: relax a little more. Be more present.

Now, I don’t mean to give the wrong impression — I had so much fun when BEFORE I GO came out. I celebrated and had a great launch party and book tour and reveled in my accomplishment. BUT. I also worried and wrung my hands and compulsively checked sales and reviews and compared myself to other authors and their sales and reviews and worried about people showing up to the launch party and the book tours and worried about how my words would be received and whether people would like it. And really, while some of that just comes with the territory, I hope I do a lot less of it the next time around. Because all that worrying doesn’t do anything. After the book is bound, you can’t change it. You can’t control how people will react to it. All you can do is put your head down and do the next part of the work — the publicity, the blog tours, the interaction with supportive readers, and of course, writing the next book.

I know it’s easier said than done, and I know I’ll do my fair share of checking sales and wringing my hands, but maybe sometimes, when I get the urge, or the anxiety creeps up, I’ll just check this blog post instead and remind myself to just breathe, relax and keep the doing the job that I am so lucky to do.

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Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

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