How to Balance Pacing With Really Going For It

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The day you launch a book feels like sprinting an all-out mile; it’s a full-on push—emails, social media posts, podcasts, columns, radio shows, responding to early readers, and more.

The only thing is this: at the end of the all-out mile, you find yourself on the start-line of a 5K, which is launch week, a slightly elongated version of launch day.

So you keep sprinting your 5K. Yet at the end of the week, you find yourself on the start-line of a half marathon, which is a launch month. By this point, hopefully, you’ve learned that sprinting probably isn’t the best pacing strategy. So you tone it down a notch, you try to settle in a bit.

After a month of grinding, at the end of your half-marathon, you find yourself on the start line of a marathon, which is the launch year. By now, you’ve either pulled out of the race due to illness, injury, or burnout; or you’ve grooved into the right pacing strategy for the long haul.

I have been doing the best I can to keep this in mind over the last 48 hours, during the launch of Master of Change. Many authors mess this up. I am trying not to. It is hard.

I’ve been glued to my computer. I’m in the process of flying across the country and back in 30 hours. I’ve checked the sales rank of the book more times than I care to admit. But all of that said, I am better this time around than I was last time. Like an actual marathon (or any prolonged feat of endurance) there is no substitute for lived experience.

I’ve learned not to sacrifice my minimum effective dose—what others may call a “floor”—for certain habits and practices that are truly essential to my well-being: I’ve protected my workout, my family dinner (outside of last night, when I was in Dallas for a conference), attempting to sleep for at least 8 hours, and brushing my teeth. I’ve decided to release from my digital sabbath for launch month, but that will come back in October, and many other rituals and routines will follow.

(I mention brushing my teeth because it’s true. Outside of my shortlist, there isn’t much more I’m protecting for now. In a world of work-life balance, I think it’s equally important to acknowledge there are periods to go all-in, and that’s okay—hell, it’s part of what gives life texture and makes it meaningful.)

In short: I am trying to go as hard as possible for a specific purpose while knowing it is a season. Every part of that sentence is important: as hard/as possible/specific purpose/a season.

It applies to far more than launching a book or other creative projects. Though the exact timescales may be different, the theme is true of starting a new job, founding a company, getting involved in an intimate relationship, having a child, preparing for a competitive sporting event, and so on.

I am being reminded of this in a visceral way this week. Hopefully, these words will serve as a reminder for you too, or at the very least, give you language to think about a perennial paradox: You’ve got to balance pacing with really going for it. Perhaps better put, you’ve got to try and pace yourself in a way that lets you really go for it.

Brad

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