Last night I did a rare thing—I had a book signing. I can't remember the last time I did one that wasn't tied to a conference. It's possibly been two years, maybe a little more.
I was so nervous. There were five authors at the event, so I didn't have to carry it myself luckily, but I still had so many regrets about saying I'd do the signing. You see, my mind gets to me easily. "No one will come to see you." "Everyone has forgotten you even exist." "Who has even read your books besides family and a few friends?"
My brain is so mean. I know this, having had social anxiety my whole life, but it's still hard for me to push away all those awful things it tells me. I start to believe them quietly and slowly over time. I don't even realize how much these negative thought cycles have gotten to me until something snaps me out of them.
That happened last night.
First, right when I got to the event, I saw a dear friend I hadn't seen in over a decade. She had been a huge part of my life in college as one of my colleagues at the magazine I wrote for. She had always brightened my days there, taught me more about life, and embraced me just how I was. So her smile as the first thing of the night wiped away my anxieties in an instant. She told me she was so proud and that I was a writer and an author no matter how I felt at the time.
That would have been enough for the night to be worth it, but then the signing bit came around and there was a sweet woman who'd bought all my books but one and was there to snag that last one she did have, SIDEKICK. I didn't know there was anyone who was that excited about my writing that they had ALL of my books! I mean, my mom does, but you know what I mean. It was so awesome to hear her talk about how much she enjoys my quirky style. She said she wait as long as it takes for my next book, even if I needed a really long break. And here I had thought I was already forgotten.
And then there was a sweet woman who had read all of my ninja books and seeing her excitement for them made me feel like I hadn't wasted my time and money to indie publish them. My brain sometimes tells me that lie. Okay, it tells me that lie a lot. So hearing that she had gobbled them all up one after the other filled my heart.
She also told me that, even though I hadn't written in a while, that she loved my blog! This little blog. What's funny is that I've thought about writing a post so many times, but my mind would always say, "No one wants to hear from you. No one cares about your blog. People don't read blogs anymore." But today I'm ignoring those thoughts and writing for the sweet lady and anyone else who might still be here with me.
I had forgotten that book signings aren't just for readers to connect to their favorite authors. A lot of times, they help me as the writer. Even if it's just one person who comes and tells me how much one thing I said meant for them...it always makes me feel stronger, it always makes me feels like maybe what I've done and what I do now isn't a waste of time.
So thanks to everyone who came last night and made me smile and reminded me that my stories have found eyes and hearts that care about them like I do.