Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ready for launch

I've spent the better part of the last six months planning for a major feature launch at work that is
deploying next week. I've also spent the better part of the last six months planning for my wedding the following week. And the week after my wedding, I will be reviewing the layout version of my first book, which I have spent a good deal of the last two years writing and planning.

This is a banner summer.

How do you prepare for so many big "reveals"? How do you close so many chapters at once, not with a whisper but with a bang, while inevitably starting new ones?

I'm one of those strange souls who crave change. I get bored easily, love unexpected adventures, pursue my crazy ideas and get a little stir crazy if things start to stagnate. It's not the impending changes that are shaking me up: I'm excited to move on to the next work project, to be MARRIED (yay!) and to finally have my book in my hot little hands.

No...what's got my nerves on high alert is that I'm about to reveal who I am, who I really am, in so many aspects of my life. Professionally, I'm about to show what all my hard work has led to when these features launch. There will inevitably be bugs, and criticism, and Monday morning quarterbacking of all of the decisions we made in our design and execution of these features. There will be kudos and celebratory drinks too...and then we'll get back to work. But the success or criticism of the work and I and my team have done will linger and I'm nervous with anticipation.

The very next week, I'm about to put on what can only be described as my big, fat geek wedding. No, we won't have hundreds of guests, but we will be embarking on 4 days of celebration that will include more robots, polka dots and geek references than I can possibly mention. Our ceremony is deeply personal and meaningful, and frankly, fun and a little wacky. It should be no surprise; John and I and our six amazing kiddos will be perfectly reflected in every part of the ceremony. And I'm SO nervous. Not to get married...that's the easy part. What will be tough for me will be revealing so much of who I am, laying it out there for everyone to see. While I love public speaking and it's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm a huge geek, I'm about to open up my heart for everyone to see inside. That's new and different and terrifying.

And then...the book. Finally. Holy cats, it has taken me longer than I could have imagined. I try to be gentle with myself and acknowledge the reality of the context of my life while I was writing this book, but if I use the analogy that writing a book is like having a baby, this one was like carrying one baby for two pregnancy terms. If you have had a child, you know that at about month 8, you'd do just about anything to get that baby out of there.'s been like that for me for over a year. Now that the book is about to be hitting the Amazon shelves, I realize that someone might actually read it. That someone will undoubtedly have an opinion on what they've read.


So no, writing a book is not like having a baby, because everyone knows that when you see a baby, no matter how ugly that baby is, you don't EVER mention your opinions to the mother. Not so much with a book. You write it and invite others to read it (hopefully buy it then read it!) and then it's theirs...theirs to critique and analyze and laud and deconstruct. Probably even misunderstand and take out of context. It's out there and you are laid bare, having opened yourself up to the experience of others judging your work.

These things would not be a big deal if I didn't feel passionately about the work that I do, or my feelings for John and our children, or what I have written. These things define me and I'm about to throw it all out there. Everyone's about to see ME, all different aspects but all me.

Two summers ago, I got my first tattoo. It's a modified quote from Teddy Roosevelt: 'if she fails, at least she fails by daring greatly." The significance is hitting me more than ever; if you want any chance at doing great things, you have to throw yourself out there and do them.

I'm about to dare greatly, my friends. If I believed in it, I'd ask you to wish me luck ;)