I know it doesn’t seem like it in my books, or on this blog, or on any of my podcasts, but I’ve been keeping quite a bit close to my chest.
Namely, FAILURE. STRUGGLE. BLINDING FEAR.
But, who isn’t, right?
I am always a little apprehensive about talking about the process and experiences I’ve had writing books because I’m afraid that I’ll bore you, or that I’ll destroy some illusion you have about me being a competent member of society.
I think I mentioned that it was hard, once?
But nothing really prepares you for the unknown that happens once you’re done writing the book.
Will anyone buy it?
Will they like it?
Will I get terrible reviews?
When I published my first novel, a few things happened that surprised me.
- It made the New York Times Best Seller list, thanks entirely to you. I remember everything about finding out about this. I was eating Mongolian chicken on my couch watching a DVR’ed Tonight Show when my friend Denise tagged me on Facebook to let me know. My parents were over for dinner. All of us screamed and cried. I’ve never seen my dad cry before, ever.
- A few nasty local women gathered in my favorite local restaurant to discuss asking the local library to ban my book. Sighhhh.
- The realization that some people get to look back on less evolved versions of themselves and smile that they’ve grown. My less evolved versions are on a bookshelf for purchase.
- I AM ON BOOKSHELVES IN BOOK STORES Y’ALL IN REAL LIFE AND WHATEVER.
That last one never gets old for me, or my kids, who now think I’m the way cooler fucking parent, sorry Andy.
But for real, I talked about impostor’s syndrome on the podcast (episode 53, I think), and I mentioned the email I’d gotten from a long-time reader who thanked me for introducing them to other body positive folk, and then called me “entry level body positivity” and then flounced on up out my life.
I touched on it in the show, but it has taken me actual years to shake that email.
That one fucking email.
I read those words and saw them, for years, as a critique or reflection of personal failure or superficial impact.
I carried that while writing two books and raising a daughter and running a community of thousands of women who look to me to actually know things.
That email paralyzed me.
And then one day it just shifted in my brain, and everything got clearer around me, and ringing in my ears stopped and I was like, you know what, fine.
You think I’m entry level? I’ll take it.
I’ll spend my whole life helping women start this journey in a way that feels safe and welcoming.
I’ll gladly hold their hand to the starting line, make sure they have all their necessary supplies, make them laugh and distract them from their negative internal monologue for a while.
My love languages are humor and pie, and I come armed with both.
I don’t need to be at the finish line, I don’t need the trophy or glory, that is for you, and you alone.
I’ll happily be by your side as long as you’ll have me, passing you Gatorade (or water bottles secretly full of Tito’s because I’m a cool friend, not a regular friend), and helping you find the best compression leggings while I scream your name and jump up and down (metaphorically, I pee when I jump now, thanks 30’s).
What I do in this world will not be small or diminished. I write funny books to make women feel less alone. They are published by HarperCollins, and a brilliant editor that I share with the likes of Amy Poehler, Ashley Graham and Chrissy Metz; all women who also walk through this world refusing to be small or diminished.
My second memoir is called The Clothes Make the Girl (Look Fat?), and it’s out December 26th.
This is not a fashion book, do not buy it expecting it to tell you what to pair with the Posh Spice pleather blazer in your closet from 1996.
(The answer is obviously sweatpants, now stop being an overachiever and get over here on the couch and watch Stranger Things with me.)
It’s a humor book.
And I’m once again terrified by this process and what happens next, and I don’t think I’ll sleep for at least another month.
Isn’t it amazing!?
I don’t have many asks, but here’s a big one.
Please buy this book.
Please tell your friends to buy this book.
If I can get a few thousand PAPERBACK BOOKS pre-ordered, my name might just be on that NYT Bestsellers list, again.
And that proves to society that women buy books with the word FAT on them, having nothing to do with losing it and everything to do with embracing it.
It tells the nasty women in my town to go fuck themselves.
It’s a poisonous dart to the neck of the tiny impostor voice still in my head, afraid to do big things.
And it’s reassurance that I’m going to keep on writing more funny books, for as long as they’ll have me.
And I have soooo many books still inside of me, guys.