Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Solving the Pressure Problem Once and For All by Emily Conrad

I’ve spent approximately eight hours working on a 45-second video you probably won’t see.

The lost time and wasted effort sadden me.

The trouble is, I tend toward perfectionism unless I’m consciously warding it off, so when I set out to make a video talking about my debut novel, Justice, it turned into this big scripted ordeal that didn’t appeal to the few people I showed it to.

When I’d hoped they say, “Yeah, this is fine,” instead they came back with suggestions that would mean redoing it from the start.

More work to look less scripted.

I cut my losses. If looking unscripted was going to take even more time, I was out.

Instead of the video, I posted a picture of the real-life setting that inspired the Main Street in Justice, a picture that took all of ten seconds to snap. I’m calling it good.

I can’t do everything. Or rather, I could do a video, but that’s clearly not where my strengths are. As sad as I am about the whole fiasco, I don’t see myself ever being comfortable with anything I produced, so I think I’ve recognized what is, for me, for now, a healthy limit.

Healthy limits don’t come easily for me in Book Launch Land.

Let me just say that I’m super-happy to be launching a book. But even good responsibilities need to be handled correctly, and I’ve found that after working toward publication for years, I now feel years’ worth of pressure to make this book a success. I feel compelled to take advantage of as many opportunities to promote my work as I can find.

So, if I share something on my Facebook page, I should probably also post it to all kinds of groups. In fact, why am I only doing free posts? Why not sponsor some ads? And while I’m at it, I ought to spruce up my site for when readers visit. Oh, and I should figure out how to make a book trailer. And why haven’t I done a Facebook book launch party?

Honestly, it’s not because of healthy limits that I avoided most of these things. I avoided them because of the ugly feeling that grew as I considered taking on yet another task. And still, I had a lot on my plate. This is the way it goes, and having a book out there is an honor. But…

After a couple of intense weeks of promotion, I was fading as I went into the weekend. Instead of continuing full-speed-ahead, I took a break and read a book for the fun of it.

That was more refreshing than I can say.

But the break wasn’t really a solution of the pressure. After the weekend, it was back into the fray, prepping for a Facebook group takeover that will be history by the time you read this post. And once again, compulsion and pressure had their way with me. I complained to a friend about how stressed I was, and her reply put things back into perspective.

God makes things happen, not you.

Can we all breathe a collective sigh of relief at that?

Pressure lurks at every step of the writing life, whether you’re drafting your first novel, rewriting your fifth, approaching agents and editors, or publicizing a book. And though I haven’t gotten further than this yet, I’m sure there are tons of pressure still in store.

But there’s a solution for that pressure. There’s Someone strong enough to take it off my shoulders and yours: Jesus.

We can do our work with excellence and then rest assured the final result is in God’s hands.

It’s time to send perfectionism, compulsion, and self-reliance packing.

A weekend break isn’t enough to fix the mindset that leads to perfectionism and unhealthy striving. We can only be saved from this I-must-do-it-all compulsion by faith.

After all, the Bible doesn’t say the righteous will live by effort.

We live by faith. 

About the Author
Emily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence her debut novel is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Emily-Conrad-ebook/dp/B0792HGXQN/
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justice-emily-conrad/1127841580

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