The last weeks have been fraught with surprises, long hours, and too many deadlines. So today, instead of going to my studio or my office, I ditched my responsibilities, went back to bed, and read a good book.
This evening, I am a bit saner and am realizing that most of my recent stress has been self-imposed. The truth is, I’m really nervous about launching the book. It is all so new that I feel completely lost. So I spend whatever free time I have doing everything I can think of to try to control an outcome that can not be controlled.
Several years ago, I read a great book called Deep Survival. It is a book about why some people survive difficult or life threatening situations and others don’t. One of the things the author stated really struck me. He said that children who are lost in the woods are much more likely to survive than adults. Middle aged men are least likely to survive. This is because middle aged men are more likely to think they can get themselves out of the situation. They keep moving, they don’t take care of their basic needs, and then they panic.
People who survive settle in for the long haul by doing what they can to find shelter, food and water, while they continue to find ways to appreciate their environment. Instead of focusing on trying to get somewhere else, they inhabit where they are.
When I’m writing or making art, I am more like the child who is lost in the woods. I’m full of wonder and fully present in the moment. I may not know where I am, but I love looking around and discovering what is there. The process of self-publishing has been an entirely different experience and I am much more like the middle aged man — running wildly in an attempt to get somewhere until finally panic sets in, reason is abandoned, and hope is lost.
This evening, after allowing myself a much needed break, I am realizing that all of my endeavors to control the outcome have been somewhat pointless. No matter how much I research, I will never know as much as I would like to know about indie publishing and most of what I learn will not be relevant to my particular book.
I have been like a tourist hiker loading myself up with gear I probably won’t need for my trip into unknown territory. I bought the compass and the trail map (though I am not particularly proficient at using them) and some really cool nylon pants, but forgot comfortable shoes, basic first aid, water, matches and waterproof gear. The novelty of the adventure somehow stripped me of my common sense. No wonder I got lost. I think it might be time to stop running, quell the panic, and settle in for the long haul. Then, if I’m lucky, maybe the book and I will both survive.