This February, I accomplished a serious bucket list dream.
My very first book was published.
And it became a bestseller in the first week.
A #1 Bestseller.
My name is in the Library of Congress.
Shiz got really real.
On top of being slightly surprised, very proud and extremely grateful, I felt so… well, validated.
Most of my book is my own journey: what’s worked for me, the ins and outs of my health, the ins and outs of my own personal wellness and experience. In fact, it’s the ins and outs of my entire life. I wrote Cured by Nature in just 3 months and my amazing publishing company somehow managed to have it in major bookstores and retailers worldwide (like Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Booktopia, Amazon, Kindle) just over a year after handing in the manuscript. That’s like, book publishing super speed. SO much gratitude.
Most authors expect to have a couple of books under their belt before creating The One, but then some manage to achieve the coveted title of Bestseller with their very first publication. And while it feels amazing to be one of those lucky few, it’s worth remembering that once you have reached the top, down is sometimes the only way that you can go.
In other words, if you shoot high (and are lucky enough to be very successful) with your first book, doing as well with your second is a pretty tall order.
My first book has only been out for 7 months, and I’m already working on book #2.
And I was having a dilemma.
I call it The Happy Curse of Book #2.
Writing my first novel was (I imagine) a lot like having my first baby: I KIND of knew what to expect, but a lot of it was completely unknown to me. It turns out, as a first time author I really had no idea what to expect. Everything was a first. A lot of things I saw as setbacks were really just uncomfortable (but very necessary) parts of the process. A lot of the first year feedback from readers still touches me a lot and makes me cry.
I don’t think that part will really change. There is something special about it being my very first body of work and hearing how it’s changed and shaped other people.
Hearing that someone was where I used to be: going to kill themselves, hurt themselves or felt alone. And to hear that now they are on their way to somewhere much, much better. To hear that today, they have hope, have goals, and have a reason to get up and go on. To hear that they are meditating, that they have an inspired morning routine, that they started dancing or changing their feelings around food, their relationships or themselves. It chokes me up every time. It’s sweet, it’s helpful and it changes a part of me for the better, too.
I love books, and I love books that are able to change and shape me. I love books that help me grow.
So here’s the Happy Curse of Book #2:
I want to do that again.
I want to do it again and again and again. I want scores of books – dozens and dozens of books – that bear my name as author and touch and change people every time they read them. And I want to do it better every time. The first time around, I had no expectations of the process and no one had any expectations of me.
This time, it felt like the expectations were huge.
Somehow, the first time around, everything came out seamlessly. Naturally. Completely. Honestly, the first manuscript I turned in and the finished product that’s on shelves today are barely different at all. I don’t think that speaks to my writing skills (and I had 3 AMAZING editors and senior editors along the way!) more so than it does to the process itself. It was practically written for me. Divinely inspired. Like it was my diary, it just HAPPENED. Like it was already there. I HAD to get it out.
This time, it felt like I had a hundred thousand ideas and they ALL need to be written and they ALL need to be eloquent and they ALL need to make sense and my publisher HAS to love them. ALL. ALL of them. Each and every one.
No pressure, right?
I realized after a few short days that I was TORTURING myself, and torturing myself was holding me back from doing the only thing I really, truly needed to do.
So recently, I slowed down and reminded myself of a few things:
I’ve improved, for one. I’m a much better writer than I was at (barely) 28, when I got my first book deal. I’m a better writer, a better author, a better teacher and a better person. I’ve read close to 200 new books, I’ve spoken all around the globe about health, wellness and my story. I’ve had interest and features and coverage from my dream press about my (very controversial) wellness path. I just had a 5 page feature on my work in Locale Magazine (sooooo surreal and amazing!!) I’ve even recently been nominated as Woman of the Year (which I seriously still can’t wrap my head around!!!) I have a lot of accomplishments under my belt this year, and they’ve ALL stemmed from the success of my first book.
The best writers are always learning, always looking for ways to improve. I know that this second book is one of many. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still want it to be perfect. I’m a super Virgo (Hi!!) and therefore, a huge perfectionist. It’s scary to drive head first into the deepest, darkest parts of my life again. I still feel like I am reeling from the therapy of the first time. I do have an advantage this time around: I can go into it knowing how much I’ve grown, how much I’ve learned. I can go into it now knowing how much it can truly and positively affect others. This is such a great driving force. I’m here to create things. I am here to create things that help people. I am here to create things that save lives.
And Book #2 is the very best way to continue that mission.
I am privileged to do it.
Thank you for being along for the ride with me.
I am so excited to share brand new parts of myself with you.