Jessica Bates

writer | reader | mother | lover

July 9, 2017

introvert/extrovert, or learning to say “I wrote a book.”

birth and what came after poemsI’m Jessica, an INFJ. While I’m an introvert, I do fall close to the line, and I enjoy groups of people. Well, I enjoy small groups of people in small doses. I tend to either be dancing on the table or hiding along the wall; there really isn’t much middle ground. I want to write books, but it’s a different thing altogether to say to someone, “I wrote a book.” That requires being judged, being seen, being asked questions, and seeing the reaction of the person you’re talking to.

It feels fantastic to scream it to the wind: I WROTE A BOOK! But to tell actual living breathing people? Eh, it’s scary.

It’s been two months today since I published my first book. I’ve been overwhelmed, touched, grateful, and sometimes terrified. The past few months have been difficult actually, for some personal but not earth-shattering reasons. Alas, I can now say that I’m an author, that I wrote a book. I’m trying hard to get used to saying it, because as a self-published indie author, I am my own marketing source. Everything really is up to me.

So I’ve been saying it to random people in checkout lines (when it feels appropriate of course). I was in line at Target. The woman in front of me answered her phone flustered and hung up quickly. She apologized to me and the cashier, saying she hated answering her phone in line but her daughter was pregnant, due any day now, and she is constantly thinking she’ll go into labor. It took me a split second, a deep breathe. I wanted to tell this woman about my book. The whole reason I wrote it was because birth & what came after (ha, see what I did there?!) completely floored me.

birth poems motherhoodI told her congratulations, and said how exciting it must be to be an almost grandmother. Then I told her I just wrote a book about that very subject. To my complete surprise and delight, she asked the title, and she typed it & my name into a note on her iPhone. AND THEN the woman behind the checkout counter wrote the title & my name on a slip of paper; she said her two sisters in law are both pregnant. They were friendly and encouraging.

Now, did these turn into actual sales? I have no idea. There’s no way to follow up or track that. But it was exciting to share with them, complete strangers but also connected through one of the most universal acts – childbearing. And it was so gratifying to be taken seriously, to have them make notes. Even if no purchases came from that encounter it felt so damn GOOD to share that with these women.

So, live your art. Tell people about the thing you’ve created. It’s scary at first, but it gets easier.

I traveled to Austin, Texas, last weekend for my BFF’s wedding. I was all alone in a sense – no husband, no kid, but I was also constantly surrounded by people for wedding festivities. Lots of people asked, so, what do you do? and by the end of the weekend, after saying it over and over, it felt so right. I wrote a book, guys. I’m a writer. And I’m writing more.

much love,

jb

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writing - Jessica Bates