This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
I had a rough spring, and I spent the six months since not taking especially good care of myself. A french-fry became a large order of fries; one glass of wine every few dinners became a glass or two every single night. Now, I’m all for eating my feelings- I actually think it makes a lot of sense to nourish yourself when you’re feeling sad- but it was time to draw a line in the sand.
So I’m in my third week of Body Back, a combined exercise/ nutrition program run by my friend Anna Catherine through her Brooklyn Fit4Mom franchise. I’ve got five and a half weeks to go, and I’ve never exercised so hard or eaten so well as I am right now. I’ve also never felt better, or more confident, or prouder of who I am. Food tastes good again. And when I walk into a room, I’m smiling.
Feeling this way has gotten me thinking about how any of us who are “public” figures lead with our selves. It’s easy to slap on make-up and a nice outfit and smile, but I’m starting to realize I’m finding it rewarding to imagine coming to a reading, say, not with the sense that I’m tricking everyone who’s there into thinking I’m something “better” than I am, but with a real sense of confidence that I’m bringing my best self to the table. This change is internal. For me, it’s about owning what I’m disappointed about (or ashamed of), and doing something about it, so that I can feel genuine about my love for myself.
The line between personal and professional is very thin in the writing realm. People want to know “you.” I used to believe such a link between book and writer was hogwash; that a novel is written to exist separately from the person who wrote it. In an ideal world, that is the case, but we aren’t living in that world.
I want people to read my book. And I want to be proud of myself. As we get closer and closer to the publication of Bittersweet, I’m feeling good about knowing a little more about who I am, and what I’m capable of. I can’t help but think that will make my connection with readers that more genuine, because it’s honest and so much more interesting than perfection.