Who Am I?

Tomorrow my debut novel will be on the shelves in bookstores all over.

As I type this, copies are winging their way across the country for those who pre-ordered, hopefully to be delivered on release day.

I’m solidifying plans for the week and weekend, and I wandered into the local bookstore on Saturday to see this:

book sign

I am beyond excited. I can’t wait until everyone gets a chance to read this book that has been at the center of my world for over two years.

I’m also a bit terrified. I know not everyone is going to like the book, nor would I ever expect that. If we all liked the same things, life would be boring. But this is my debut, and it’s the first opportunity people will have to be exposed to my writing style, my storytelling, and some of the most secret parts of my soul.

(Writers are a little dramatic sometimes…)

As all of the many strong emotions have been flowing, I’ve also been wrestling with this idea of the change in identity that comes with this monumental day. This is the only time I will make the switch from unpublished to published author. (Though there is an argument to be made that anyone with a book deal is technically published, but you see where I’m going with this.) From now on, when people want to read my book, they can get it immediately. No more pointing them in the direction of pre-order links or assuring them that it will be out SOON. It’s a huge relief.

And also totally terrifying.

I’ve been overwhelmed with emotions the past couple of weeks. There are so many amazing things going on with this book, and it’s been incredible. But I’m already dreading the letdown. Not the letdown of the book being out itself, because that will forever be amazing, but I’m looking down the barrel of a week filled with activities and parties and people, and a week from today all those people will be gone, the events will be over, and somehow I will be expected to go back to business as usual, back to dayjob and writing the next book and the cycle starts all over again.

This is something authors deal with every time a book drops, I’m sure, but this is the first time for me. And I was freaking out a bit until church yesterday morning.

The sermon was about having goals in life, and keep our eyes on that goal. He also talked about finding meaning in what we do. We watched a clip from Chariots of Fire (my dad’s fave movie!), where Eric Liddell made the point that unless we have meaning outside of the things we do, it’s hard to find true joy in them.

This book, THE GIRL BEFORE, is an incredible accomplishment. I’m so excited for the world to meet Clara, to hear her story, to hopefully find some hope and be inspired in some way. But in the end, this book is not where my identity is. What people say about my book is not me. How well my book does does not reflect who I am as a person.

I’m going to hand out some advice for myself and for anyone else who has at some point found themselves tying their identity to their accomplishments, whether in writing, music, arts, family, jobs, or anything else.

Figure out who are you apart from those things, because they are temporary. Accomplishments fade, are replaced. Jobs end. Popularity doesn’t last. Find internal sense of being. For me, it’s my faith in God and the friends/family who have been around since the beginning that remind me of who I am, and where my worth lies. My family and friends remind me that they loved me before and will continue to love me whatever wordly success or failures I may have, and my faith in God reminds me that I am worthy no matter what happens next.

So while my author identity may change tomorrow, who I am, who I truly am, will remain the same.


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5 Responses to Who Am I?

  1. Nik says:

    You’ll always be my bestie.

  2. Pingback: Who Am I? -Wisdom from Rena Olsen author of The Girl Before – The Write Niche

  3. I love this and you ❤ Your words are amazing and I'm so intensely proud of you!

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