The Calm Before the Who-Knows-What: 110 Days to Publication

walls arcs 400I write this to you from a quiet moment in my publishing life. It is December 5, the year 2014, and I am in the room at the rear of the café at a table beside the outlet where I can safely sit with my back against a wall. I am all alone in a room full of noisy people, which is both literal and symbolic at the same time. I write this nervously, of course, and with hope, always, about what the future might bring. My new book comes out next year, and next year is close. The pub date is March 24, to be exact, which I can see ahead on the calendar and which feels breathlessly about to happen and also at the same time safely still far away.

The moment is quiet still, because nothing has happened yet. There have been no trade reviews yet. It is too soon to do much promoting, or to weigh any reactions. I haven’t had to dress up at an event for this book yet and talk about it in front of people. Anything is possible at this point. The book comes out in 110 days.

There are 110 days to go, and the book is mine still, even though some people have been reading it and kindly telling me so on Twitter.

Today, someone tweeted me something I said a while back. I guess I said, “When I was writing The Walls Around Us, I decided to be simply and only myself.” And that’s true. I want to remember that, no matter what happens.

Everything is about to be up in the air next year. Where I’ll live. What work I’ll be doing. What will happen with my writing career. How this book will do out in the world. How that will determine everything else, including, though I’d hate to let that happen, my self worth.

I don’t know yet. I can’t know yet. We’re waiting on news about our apartment. I can’t do much to figure things out for next year because I’m about to go away and be offline for three weeks. The book I’m writing now is due next month, and it’s the last book on my contract. I don’t know what I’ll write next.

The best thing I can do for myself is have no expectations. To look ahead into the future and see a complete and total blank. When I get my hopes up, it’s dangerous. When I skew too negative, it’s far worse. When I keep myself busy, and try not to think about anything beyond next week when I’ll take the train upstate to finish my novel, it’s okay.

So let’s just be okay today.

I wanted to write to you from this moment in my life. From before.

If you, too, are on the edge of something and want to imagine someone sitting next to you in the noisy waiting room crowded with other people all going about their lives, I’m here. I’m feeling quiet. But I’m here.

p.s. I’m too tired to check my math. If it’s actually less than 110 days, don’t tell me.

4 responses to “The Calm Before the Who-Knows-What: 110 Days to Publication”

  1. That is how I felt this morning. I have to present a very personal story to my class so I wrapped myself in vivid colors and took a bright scarf and I feel okay. Optimistic, almost.

    I have no idea what next year will bring, but I will do everything I can to make it my year. The future is so unknowable, but if we do everything we can to be positive (at least as much as we can) and, every once and again we believe in ourselves…then I think that just maybe we might be eking out the right path. I have faith in you, your wonderful writing, and your innate kindness that it will all work out.

    Good luck and best wishes for your retreat. May it be rejuvenating. ❤


  2. It feels SO GOOD to be older and wiser now, to “manage” my own expectations—not to hide from disappointment but to free up creative energy for the next project, that shiny new thing I can put all my love into. I really appreciate what Kristin wrote, too, about doing everything you can to make it your year.

    So happy you’re headed back to Yaddo, my dear! xoxox


  3. I am so excited for this book!

    I hope you can hang on to that feeling of quiet, of calm, of being okay. And I hope this book release turns into a joy.

    Have a great time offline. 🙂


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