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.
www.emilyconradauthor.com
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Emily-Conrad-ebook/dp/B0792HGXQN/
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justice-emily-conrad/1127841580

Justice
Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she's pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake's coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God's love and in each other?

25 comments:

  1. "God makes things happen, not you." Great advice, Emily! The thing I've learned (and it took me almost two years to do so) is to not let the busyness keep you from completing more stories.

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    1. I'm so grateful for the wise friend who doled out that advice! And thank you for the reminder to keep penning more stories! I've definitely been missing that while focusing so much on the launch. It's time to get back to it!

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  2. Well said, Emily! Your words are reminders of what I know to be true yet often forget. Thank you for sharing your heart. The sigh of relief was refreshing.

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    1. I need this reminder often, too, so I'm happy to pass it along so we can all sigh with relief together :) Thanks for reading!

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  3. Great article! With God's help, we must conquer that continual feeling that we haven't done enough.

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    1. Thanks, Denise! Amen--it certainly does take God's help!

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  4. I love this, Emily! It's such a good reminder that our focus is what matters regardless of circumstance.

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    1. I'm glad it resonated with you, Robyn! Yes, when our focus is on Jesus, He'll take care of everything else!

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  5. You were wise to take a break and read. After I published my book, my head was reeling from all the information and suggestions for marketing. Then I read Allen Arnold’s book The Story of With in which he explains the difference between expectations and expectancy. That gave me so much peace about doing what I could do and letting God handle the results. I’ll admit my book isn’t breaking any sales records, but it’s doing well enough to please me, and I’m enjoying the promotional part of the writing journey.

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    1. I love that you've come to a place where you enjoy the promotional part of the journey! I have The Story of With at the top of my TBR pile! It sounds fantastic and like just the kind of perspective I need!

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  6. Great post, Emily!
    I remember one time I was stressed out, burned out and DONE with promoting with little to no results. I threw up my hands and said, "Lord, every sale is a soul for God but I don't know if souls are being touched if there are no sales!" (or something like that) - My sales increased quarterly after that for a while LOL!

    It's all in His hands and His timing.
    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

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    1. God is so good to help us when we're floundering! I love that answer to prayer! Thanks for stopping by, Pamela!

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  7. Thank you for your post, Emily. As a former perfectionist, I've learned that there is a huge difference between perfectionism and excellence. :) The first enslaves; the second liberates. Blessings to you for a joyous Resurrection Day! :)

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    1. You've said it so well--perfectionism enslaves, excellence liberates. May we all live with that in mind! Happy Easter!

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  8. LOVE this. Well said. What a great word, not just for writers - but for all of us who strive to do all things with excellence and struggle when we feel like we've fallen short.

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    1. Thank you, Stacey! Yes, I'm so grateful that no matter what we're attempting (and how we're performing at it), God's got the end result completely under control! So appreciate you stopping by!

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  9. Emily, your post nearly sent me into an anxiety attack as I recalled all those feelings, the marketing learning curve (huge!), and the fear of not doing the right thing the right way at the right time. It's been nearly a year since my debut released, and I feel like I'm just beginning to recover. A lot of good things happened as a result of my effort, but I sacrificed peace and, at times, friends and family. The good thing about being where I am now is I have a better idea which strategies are worth my effort and which did not pay off (although I'm still learning). That was hard for me to discern a year ago because I felt like I had to do "everything." Even though I kept saying I was it was in God's hands, I had a hard time taking it out of mine. I have a feeling--and am praying--that your book lauch will be a tremendous success! Blessings!

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Karen, and for sharing your experience! You're right that the learning curve is huge, and it's easy to give up the wrong things (peace, family, friends) in an attempt to tackle it. One fantastic thing your comment reminds me of is how supportive and helpful the Christian writing community is! I'm so grateful for those who remind me what's important and Who's in control! And also at the way those with more experience share their wisdom so generously. Praying God would bless your writing, as well!

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  10. Oh my goodness, Emily, how I can relate. My pulse started racing just reading that list of book launch tasks. As I think about my debut releasing at the end of June, I too, begin hyperventilating and wonder what I've done to myself! Thank you for such a good reminder and please remind me of your friend's advice "God makes things happen, not you" during the first week of July!

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    1. So excited for your book release, Kelly! How fun that ours are so close together! Whatever you need, you just email me :) Praying God would get your book into just the right hands, that you would trust Him to do just that, and that you would be comforted in the knowledge of His great love for you!

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  11. "After all, the Bible doesn’t say the righteous will live by effort. We live by faith." LOVE this! This whole post is packed with truths we need to remind ourselves of over and over again whenever worry or anxiety start. I love this reminder that we only need to do the work God has already prepared in advance for us to do, and HE will take care of the results, too! And we have the additional hope in His promise that those results, whatever they are, will always be good. Thanks for this encouragement today! :)

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, too! What great promises!

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  12. I love this Emily! I definitely need this reminder all the time, especially since I'm still in school and there's a lot of pressure to keep all the balls in the air. I've loved getting to be a part of your book launch and I think you've carried it out with so much grace and joy!

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    1. Thank you so much, Allie! It's been wonderful having you on the launch team! I'm glad the post was an encouragement :)

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  13. Wow, Emily, thank you so much for being vulnerable! I am a die-hard perfectionist myself, both in my writing and my personal life. To make matters worse, I have been struggling with wrist problems since August, which limit my writing. I often kick myself for being unable to do everything I "should" do (especially on my platform). It's nice to know I'm not alone.

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