In the time leading up to a big day, you do everything you can. You make plans. You consider contingencies. You supply, you restock. You practice, you rehearse, you try to anticipate. You ask for help … a lot of help.
Good planning goes a long way. Giving a speech is a lot easier if you know exactly what you want to say. Laying the foundation for maximum impact comes through careful work done over the course of weeks, months, and years.
But some of the plans, you already know, will need to be adjusted on the fly. “No plan survives contact with the enemy on the battleground,” as they say. And in this case, the enemy is Taliban-like: hard to pin down; hard to predict. The enemy is tight schedules, dozens of unknown venues, places you’ve never been, and countless variables outside your control. (Not to mention your own fears and doubts … ultimately the most challenging enemies.)
In the interim between calm and storm, it’s good to take a long run early in the morning, preferably up an extinct volcano near your apartment. Or if you don’t run, just walk. Go outside and look up at the sky and say to yourself: “Whatever happens, things will be different after this is over.”
Process is important. It’s not the big event; it’s what led up to the event to bring you there. It’s not the finished product; it’s remembering what you put into it. Worldly success is fleeting, so if you can focus on what will be different in your own life after it’s done, so much the better.
Looking at the work from a distance, you see some things you’re impressed with, and others that you’d change if you could. But it’s too late to change, because in the end, an artist has to deliver. An artist has to be able to say, “Here it is, world! It’s your turn now.” Ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to.
And In This Case
You spend a year writing a book, then you spend a year waiting for it to come out. You ask your publisher about book tours and hear that no one does them anymore because there is no money, and no one buys real books these days anyway. So you decide, what the hell, we’ll do our own book tour. And because nothing worth doing is ever easy, you decide to make it the most epic book tour you could possibly think of.
Then you get on a plane and fly to New York City, home of big dreams, small hotel rooms, and Dunkin’ Donuts. And then, the next morning, it all begins.