I can die happy now. My kid loves my book! Forgive me if this sounds hysterical. The stress has been weighing on me. As a mom, you want nothing more than to protect your kid, and I worried that I had hurt mine by publishing my story, which included scenes centered around his childhood. I’d asked him to proof the text for years beforehand, but he never wanted to, saying to publish anything I wanted. We’re open books in our family, so phew.

One of my motivators for writing is to share what’s in my heart with the people I love. It hurts when I spend years pouring over stories involving those loved ones, and then they choose not to read the book. (Intellectually, I understand this is common. I warn my clients about it all the time. I even wrote about it in this book; see below pic.) I’m mature enough to know I’m not the center of anyone’s world but my own and maybe a dog or two. But it still stings when I get excited to share a piece of writing with someone, and we can’t share it because the nuances are foreign to them.)

My son did start reading an early copy of Beautiful Writers the week before it came out. As a former film major, he loved the cinematic scenes in the memoir parts of the book and called me every day with his fabulous take on the craft, storylines, and success advice threaded throughout from celeb authors excerpted from my podcast. “I’m learning so much, Mom!” he’d rave, teaching me equal amounts about things I didn’t even see in my own book. I looked forward to his calls each morning, proof positive all that tuition I’d paid for his college years paid off. Ha.

But. My son experienced an incredibly stressful period starting on the day Beautiful Writers came out two summers ago, coincidentally, right around the time he read a scene about a third of the way through the book that hit too close to home, triggering a memory from his childhood that he was still wrestling with. “I gotta put it down, Ma,” he said. “Just for a while.” He had to focus on his life and business, and I knew his temporary “rejection” of the book wasn’t about me. “I’ll listen to the audiobook as soon as it comes out,” he promised. I was proud of him for choosing his mental health and creating boundaries for himself, even if it meant I had to wait patiently.

However, waiting made me sad for multiple reasons. On the one hand, the audiobook kept getting delayed. (My publishing team and I couldn’t wrap our minds around all the celebrity voice permissions, the contracts involved from excerpting their voices from the pod, and the differing sound qualities versus the option to hire voice actors; it was all too much for a while. Anyone exhausted by the writing & launching process knows the feeling of hitting one’s limit, on the heals of a few years of a pandemic, no less.) I kept hoping my son would get curious about the book and pick up the printed version again instead while we took our time figuring out the audiobook details. But he kept waiting on the audiobook. I learned to let it go, to try and explain scenes when something would come up, and I’d want to share it with him. I found delight in connecting with readers who wanted to talk about those scenes, which wasn’t quite as lovely as chatting about those details with my child, but still . . . readers!

And then, this rave text from my son came out of the blue this past weekend. I didn’t even know he was listening to the audiobook. I didn’t realize until my phone pinged with its image how much I still hoped for my son’s words of affirmation, but I’d be lying to say they didn’t mean more than almost any gift I’ve ever received. To know that the stories I’d written about his childhood, things I figured he didn’t know or probably would never remember (plus, snippets about his mom and relatives I hoped he’d learn and care about one day), meant something to him… there’s nothing quite like it. I’m humbled and grateful.

Write your stories, my friend. For yourself, first and always. But also for the people in your life who will never know them and how they’ll be impacted by them unless you get them down.

It’s an art, living this creative life. What a joy to make art and receive the gift of sharing one’s legacy.

Linda xo

PS. Speaking of sharing, I’m doing a raffle in less than 3 hours, at 5 pm PST, for all buyers of my Beautiful Writers Audiobook who enter. Go to BookMama.com, enter your proof of purchase number, and you’ll be entered to win all sorts of writerly prizes, including a book consult session with me, access to my Book Proposal Magic program, a year’s tuition for the Beautiful Writers Group, and a bundle of copies of Heal and The Secret Manifestation cards in honor of my celebration episode with Rhonda Byrne and Kelly Noonan Gores. See you in the raffle!

PSS. This post= Son-approved. 😊

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