How Control Kills Confidence

It's been a while since I last posted, simply because life has been so busy since I released Breaking into Butterflies!

First off, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has purchased, read, reviewed, or even just planned to buy my book. I have receive such lovely, inspiring, and encouraging feedback and I'm so thankful to all of you!

If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy yet, you can do so by clicking the picture below.

Since it's been some time since my last post, I wanted to take some time to update you guys on my writing, my life, and my publishing journey thus far!

Writing (but mostly waiting...)

Writing has been slow lately, but exciting things are in the works! As far as my main WIP, Awaken, goes, the project has mostly been on standby since my poetry has taken up most/all of my writing time. But, now that the book is released, I plan to sit down and finish the final outline for the random chapters I need to add into the story. Once I write those, the "first draft" (is it technically a first draft? Who knows. We're just going to say it is.) will be complete!
In an attempt to help myself get a little unstuck, I sent my first five chapters to my favorite literary agent (Eric Smith) for a partial critique. Yes, it's kind of insane to send an agent a partial of a first draft. BUT, I was not about to pass up an opportunity to get an agent's eyes on my work without the possibility of a rejection! The price was great, the agent is great--it's a win-win! I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to say about the beginning of Awaken, and I'm hoping his thoughts will help me decide how much editing the first bit of the book needs. I tend to focus waaaay too much on my first 3-5 chapters, edit them a ton, and neglect the rest of the book. So hopefully having a professional's eyes on them will help me decide where to draw the editing line. I'm just anxiously waiting to hear back from him!
Aside from Awaken, I have had some fun (and creepy) new book ideas hit me as the seasons have changed! Fall and Halloween are such inspirational times for me, so my latest idea is a contemporary fantasy with paranormal elements about triplets turned twins, ghosts, and cursed mansions. I'm very excited.
As far as my poetry goes, I've been spending a lot of time on my poetry instagram (@mirandakuligpoetry) and I've found the writing community there to be really lovely, encouraging, and talented! I've also been working on my next poetry collection (or two, or three. I'm really bad at choosing one project at a time to work on, apparently.)

Thoughts on publishing...

Breaking into Butterflies has been out in the world for almost three weeks, and it's definitely already been a very up and down journey. It's my very first book, so I had my expectations set pretty low, and I've been basically thinking of this entire endeavor as testing the waters.
However, I did not anticipate the effect releasing a book would have on my mental health. Barely a week after I released the book, I found myself drowning in depression and anxiety. I was checking my stats constantly. My heart would drop every time my sales or author rank would go down. I was spending every second I could on social media, trying to promote, trying to market, asking for reviews, etc. I've had a lot of people message me telling me they loved my book, promise to write a review, and consequentially forget. Which is normal--life is busy and reviewing books usually aren't on the forefront of a person's mind. But when you're me and you're super strung out and stressed and constantly anxious, a person telling you they'll review your book and then not reviewing your book = they secretly hated it.
Which of course, probably isn't true. But that at least is a small glimpse into what my brain has been like lately.
So, I decided to take a step back from Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook for a while. It's been a super nice break so far that I really needed. And after having a deep prayer session and talk with God, I realized that I was trying too hard to have control over every single aspect of this situation.
Because in reality, I can't control who reads and reviews my book. I can't control who buys it or loves it or hates it. All I can do is put myself out there, do my best, and leave the rest to God. So that is what I'm trying to do!
Overall, I love being an author. I love signing copies of a real, beautiful book that I created. I love getting messages from strangers telling me I've inspired them. I love people of all ages telling me I moved them to tears. I love making an impact in the lives of others. But hanging onto all of the stats, and numbers, and sales ranks, and reviews, and stress is unhealthy and just downright unnecessary. I don't need a number to define my success.

So this week (and forever, I hope) I'm going to challenge myself to let go of the things I can't control and just enjoy being an author and a writer, and I want to encourage you to do that, too. It is so ridiculously easy for us to get caught up in all kinds of ideas of what defines success. Is it your follower count? The number of sales you made? The number of words you've written? Too often, we let numbers take control and we lose sight of what really matters--feeling accomplished and proud of ourselves.

So that is my little life update/word of encouragement for the day! I hope you all have a wonderful week!