Friday, November 20, 2009

Moving on from judgment

I'm about to send my book, The Gift of Stress, to the printer.

Back in the days when I was a student I would get judged all the time... for my writing, tests, attendance, etc. Looking back, the nice thing about those days was that you'd get one grade, and then you'd move on.

When I'd perform improv I'd have the same feeling - it was one-and-out. My performance was a one-time thing and if you were in the audience you'd react to it in the moment and then it'd fade. Everyone would move on.

In 5th grade I made a stupid comment in class that a few people teased me about until sometime in high school when it faded. I think it helped that there was no written record. Even then we moved on.

It doesn't work that way for a book that you want a lot of people to read - one that you've billed as the culmination of four years of work. It's easier to write-off a bad appearance on Letterman than a book. People almost expect you to screw up on national television. But a book? You had all the time you wanted for it. In fact, since most books that are started aren't completed there's a higher expectation for it (after all, if it wasn't good you would have given up on it. Right?)

So each person reading it will judge the work. And it will continue to be judged pretty much forever. You can't un-write a book. And these days it's google-able forever.

The bad news is that I still want everyone to love it, or not disagree, or at least cut me some slack. The good news is, that I believe I'm about to share a quality product (and the semi-objective feedback I've gotten has been universally positive).

So what really matters in all this? How I'm feeling in the moment. Is it stress? Is it joy? Something else? Right now I want to feel excitement and joy. oooh, maybe even gliddy!

P.S. I didn't put so much effort into a book just to move on from it (at least that's my perspective right now). I can picture that in a decade or two I'll want people to move on from it and pay attention to my latest brilliant work.

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