This Is My Brain on Anxiety
Two weeks to my book launch!
What if I get sick? is how the spiral began.
It started over the weekend with a sore throat and a stuffy nose.
Allergies, I suspect, because spring always brings them, and pollen counts are high. But I’m still in a pandemic state of mind, even as restrictions ease, and the stakes feel high. Getting sick, even if it’s a cold, means canceling book launch events.
From there all the assorted fears, worries, and worst-cases flood my body.
What if the books don’t ship in time for pub date?
What if I leave the notes for my speech at home?
Or somehow forget about one of my events?
Or don’t get the login link in time to join one of the virtual ones?
Or what if nobody comes to listen?
Just thinking about all this makes my stomach flip. I’m also worried about my family and my dog and what I’m going to fix for dinner that’s vegan (for me) and something the kids will at least try, if not devour, and back to book events, what happens if I fumble my reading glasses or leave them someplace and I can’t read my speech, and what if this is all over in a blink and I’ve spent the rush of the launch experience fretting about things I can’t control?
Oh god. I have to write a speech.
Several of them.
I have a glorious fifteen minutes between Leyna Krow and Jennifer Weiner on April 13, as part of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association spring pop-up event in Bellingham, Washington. How am I supposed to fill the space between these two powerhouses? With stories, I guess. I can tell those. But which ones? And should I leave time for questions?
And what if I get in my car to drive up there and forget to bring my notes?
You can tell it’s like a washing machine in my brain right now.
Around and around. And around. All wet and heavy.
But isn’t this supposed to be the fun part?
I think sometimes, as people interacting in a virtual space, we show all the good stuff and leave these internal barrages where they start: inside us. I’ve spent the last decade coaching authors through this perilous pre-launch lead-up time and I have an essay coming out with Catapult soon about some of those techniques. Mostly I have been taking my own advice. But I’ve been having days like this, too. Around and around days. Freaked-out days.
Two years ago on April 13, which happens to be the day I’m speaking with Leyna Krow and Jennifer Weiner, my best friend Priya died of COVID. I was slotted for a signing spot until this speaking one opened up, and I am so glad to have this event on my calendar as an anchor on a day of deep grief.
I just can’t get sick.
A few housekeeping notes:
You can now order signed and personalized copies of Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary from Annie Bloom’s Books. Write in the comment box if you want it personalized to you (or someone else) and I will go to the store and sign for you!
If you want to post about my book, please consider using the hashtag #stylishcanary. The #singinglessons hashtag leads to, well, posts about singing lessons.
My event list is still growing but here’s what’s confirmed right now. I’d love to see you online or in person! The online events have registration available on the bookstore websites.
YOUR BRIGHT SIDE INVITATION: What makes you anxious? Do you have any tips you want to share with me?
Feel free to leave a comment! I started this newsletter to create an intimate but accessible conversation space about creativity, grief, and the societal reset that the pandemic has offered creatives like us. I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can reply to this email to have a conversation just with me, or you can comment on the post to connect with other readers. You’re also welcome to forward this to any friends who might like it.
For those of you who are new: Thanks for joining my newsletter community! I publish new pieces twice a month or (usually) less. Being transparent about publishing is my jam—as a publisher and now as an author—and I’m equally passionate about building creativity into everyday life. If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to address in future issues, feel free to drop me a note. I’d love to make this space as interactive as possible.