I’ve been waiting for tomorrow for a year and a half…longer, really. Tomorrow night is my book launch party. In some ways it’s like waiting for your wedding day with plans for napkin colors and sweating when you try on your dress and hopes that the music fits the mood of the crowd; and in other ways it’s exactly like my wedding day with an almost identical guest list.
I have always loved writing and I focused a lot of my elementary school years creating tiny books – I have a box in my spare room from my dad’s attic with the proof inside. I spent high school and college getting less than average scores in the sciences but outstanding and highest honors in writing. I started a blog or two in the college years that I fear actually still live on the world wide web. And I started Gals with Goals with my friend, Angela, which forced me to declare that writing a book was a life goal of mine. It’s like the idea of writing a book was always there tapping me on the shoulder just waiting for me to say “fine, let’s do this thing.”
So as I sit here…in sweat pants…at a Starbucks…because I took the day off work simply to stir around and process my thoughts, I am reminded of all the emotions that have come with this process.
I have experienced self doubt, over-confidence, excitement, purpose, confusion, irritation, tiredness, self-forgiveness, wanting to hide under the covers, wanting to squeal in joy from rooftops, encouragement, discouragement, humor, self-consciousness, and contentment. I have questioned if people will think the book is too short, I have asked myself if the price point is acceptable, I have spent countless days asking myself if people will take my words the wrong way when it’s intended to be light-hearted, I have cried my eyes out when the box with my first book arrived, I have done a double-take when I saw friends holding my book when I did some pre-release book sales at a retreat, I have felt so loved and encouraged I have become speechless, and I have hoped the drive for the party is worth it for the ones coming from out of town.
Tomorrow I will arrive at the coffee shop where I sat for a year and a half. I will droop my coat over the chair by the plug where I sat when I wrote this 142 page creation. I will hug my dad and smell his cologne when he arrives 30 minutes earlier than the time we planned, I’ll watch my stepparents work together to help put up décor, I’ll watch my sister play with settings on our dad’s camera because this is her first photography gig, I’ll watch Chris tee up the music playlist we agreed upon while I hear his contagious laugh from across the room, I’ll look to my mom throughout the night for reassurance that my outfit looks okay and that my curls are holding in my hair, I’ll hug the spouses of friends that I’ve never met, I’ll stress that I’ll only sell 20 books while stressing that I might sell out of books, I’ll squeeze my Grandma who will be in a trendy outfit she’s been waiting to wear while she tells me she’s proud of me, I’ll watch my coworker transform the place into a Valentine/book themed space with details she’s been secretly crafting at her house, I’ll awkwardly sign my name in books and ask myself if I should just put “Brooke” or sign my full name even though the book is for a family member, I’ll feel the sting on my arm when my Grandpa who is driving in from Kentucky with a thick accent squeezes me with that rough Kentucky squeeze, I’ll laugh with my mom’s besties who are staple attendees at all my big life moments, I’ll chat with our neighbors about how we still need to have a bonfire soon, I’ll introduce my life friends to my coworkers and my coworkers to my parents, and I’ll cry when I put my pajamas on at night when Chris hugs me and says “see, it all turned out perfect.”
This party isn’t really about book sales. And it’s not even really about me. It’s a party that I hope people leave saying “wow, that was so fun, that place was amazing, and that inspired me to go ______ (insert the thing you’ve always wanted to do).” My book isn’t that thick and it’s not going to be everyone’s taste, but it’s simply a physical thing to say “hey, if I can put myself out there with this thing…you can go put yourself out there with whatever your thing is.”
So…now…I will go steam my dress for tomorrow, I’ll paint my nails, I’ll pick up the rest of the pink champagne for the party, and I’ll be here – waiting for you – when you’re ready to go do your life’s version of writing a book.