Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu, Japan

October 30, 2016

Of Well-Earned Exhaustion

Autumn has started to fold itself over Japan, and new glimpses are emerging between the yellowing leaves. Fall eggplants (tiny and delicious). Fall sake (full bodied and delicious). Fall leaves (not for eating).

But for the past couple weeks, I've only caught fleeting glimpses of Autumn out my apartment window, or on brief walks around town. I've struggled with the reality that - having architected my life around getting to be right here, at this exact time of year, I've actually spent most of my days sitting at my desk, finishing up my book.

But it's been worth it. The slow, steady grind of tacking down each detail has worn away the pile of work, and as of yesterday, I'm left with a book, sitting in the press pipeline — and a publication date. A publication date!

The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression will be available at a bookstore near you on December 6, 2016.

(I'll also be doing an early digital-only presale a few weeks before that. I'll keep you posted.)

There are a lot of stories around the book-making process - or at least a lot of things I imagined, before I did it. Writing - sure, it's a lot of words, but they're just words, how hard can it really be? Press - sure, there's some technical details involved in becoming an indie publisher, but how hard can it really be?

Here, sitting on the other side, my answer has changed. It turns out, really hard, actually.

But I'm grateful and fortunate to live at time when the answer is just really hard and not impossible. There's so much changing in our landscape, so fast - technology and possibility and reality - it's hard to make sense of it.

But here in 2016, with some perseverance, a person can create a publishing company with global distribution in less than a year. They can publish printed works with a world-wide reach. And they can send a letter, just like this one, to people scattered all across the planet - instantly.

None of these things were possible a hundred years ago. Or even twenty years ago. And yet today, as a testament to the adaptability and relativity bias wired in all of our brains, it seems completely normal - like it's always been that way.

What a wonderful time to live in.

Sitting here with my coffee on this Sunday morning, with sunlight streaming in through my apartment window and the bulk of the work behind me, the emotional reality of being done has started to sink in.

I'm reminded of a truth I found while learning to surf in Mexico - success, true success, feels like relief.

There's a deep-breathed, exhausted kind of clarity that comes at the end of a lot of hard work. As I finalized the book layout this last week, I found myself listening to the same songs I'd heard when I was a kid, working long days out on a friend's farm building a pig sty or convincing some hard soil to turn itself over.

There's something that feels good about being a little worn out, especially over something worth doing. A good, well-earned exhaustion. Thanks, as always, for coming along with me.

Now, I think it's time for me to get up from this desk, leave my trusty laptop behind, and go find a little of the gorgeous fall I hear crinkling outside my window. :)

Have a wonderful week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read all week was the comments from reviewers on my book. (I have a book! A real book! And a good one! :) ) But the best thing I can share is a light bit of fun for your Sunday - the finalists of the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography contest.

Enjoy the zebra. :)

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