February 2, 2018
My eyes snapped open at 7:30 a.m., which is a travesty. I used to be a person who slept in every chance she got and only woke up before 10 a.m. with a loud alarm. I miss my sleeping-in days. I immediately reached for my phone, and yes, yes, I know that’s bad, spare me the stories about how you wake up and read poetry, or the Bible.
My book, The Wedding Date, came out three days ago, so basically every day for the past two weeks I’ve woken up to an email from someone at my publishers. The great thing about living in California is that the East Coast has been at it for at least an hour by the time I wake up, so they’re working on cute gifs of my book and linking me to nice reviews while I’m still sleeping soundly. After reading book emails, I clicked over to Twitter and read my secret Twitter list of completely frivolous stuff like dresses and tiaras and princesses to start my internet day.
I did my dishes from the night before while I waited for my coffee to brew. This is the best habit I’ve formed in years. I’m a very messy person, and doing dishes at night always feels overwhelming to me, but doing them in the morning while I wait for my coffee is a breeze. When the dishes and the coffee were done, I checked my mostly packed suitcase to see how much else I could fit in there. It was Friday, and I was heading down from Oakland to LA later in the day for a book event that weekend. As much as I want to be one of those people who can fit everything they need for a weekend in a tiny suitcase, I made the last-minute decision to switch from my compact, light, and very easy-to-wheel suitcase that was almost all packed to my bigger, beat-up, broken-wheeled (but still carry-on-size!) suitcase. I tucked my overstuffed toiletry and makeup bags in there and zipped it. There was room to spare.
Before leaving for work, I had a phone interview about my book. It’s been a few months now of doing book promo interviews and Q&As and podcasts, and I’ve gotten used to it, but it’s still wild to me. I spent years secretly writing fiction and thinking that I’d never sell it / no one would read it / no one would like it, and now it amazes me that there are all these people out in the world reading a book I wrote. I hope that feeling never gets old.
On BART on the way to work, I checked Twitter for real (and Facebook, and Instagram) and looked at my notifications before delving into the terrible things the current administration has done today. I’ve been on social media for a long time, but navigating it as a debut author is tricky in a way I didn’t really expect. Am I supposed to respond to everyone who mentions me or my book? Do I retweet compliments or not? Only if they’re actual reviews and not just tweets? I’m perfectly comfortable with self-promotion and talking about my book; I’m excited about my book and proud of it. But balancing that with not overwhelming other people while also being thankful to people who read my book is a real tightrope to walk. I have no idea if I’m doing it right.
On the way up the elevator to the office—I’m a lawyer for my day job—I texted my dad to check in on him. January was a real roller coaster of a month for me: I had a lot of exciting book news happen while I was hanging out by hospital beds. In a three-day period, my grandmother had a stroke, my friend died, and my dad got rushed to the hospital. He was in the hospital for two weeks, and that first week was really hard. I had a bunch of interviews scheduled for my book during that time, and I’m not really sure why I didn’t reschedule any of them. I think I was just trying to pretend everything was normal while I had two family members on the same floor of the same hospital and was also booking a flight to travel to a memorial service. At least one interview I did during this time, I have no memory of doing. Anyway, my dad is doing a lot better, as is my grandma. Also: everyone get a flu shot.
I got a few hours of work done, fueled by the breakfast burrito I picked up on my way to the office, and then at lunch I took a break and finished that week’s edition of my tinyletter. My newsletter is more or less me on Twitter, except longer, and whether you like that depends on how entertaining you find me on Twitter when I ramble about books I like and whatever I’m cooking. I didn’t eat lunch, because that breakfast burrito usually keeps me full until midafternoon, but I snacked on cheese and crackers at my desk around three. I checked the Amazon ranking of my book for the third time that day; I made a rule for myself that I can only check once an hour. (Since then, I’ve managed to cut that down to only about four times a day.)
I went straight from work to the airport to fly down to LA. I love the Oakland airport; it’s small, easy to get to on public transportation, and easy to navigate, and the security lines are a breeze. I read for most of the quick flight from The Royal Sisters, a nonfiction book about Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, exactly the relaxing kind of book I needed this week. (If you liked The Crown, you’ll enjoy this book; Philip seems like a jerk in the book too.)
I dropped my stuff off at my hotel and then headed to a restaurant a few miles away to meet two friends for dinner. I met both Amy and Akilah online; Akilah and I first met (on the Mighty Big TV message board for Gilmore Girls) when her daughter was a toddler, and now she’s in college, which blows my mind. Akilah lived on the East Coast when we first met and talked for years about moving to California. This year she finally did it. Amy and Akilah were the first people I told when I started writing, and they were the first people who read the manuscript of The Wedding Date, and I’m overjoyed to see them the first week my book is out in the world.
After dinner, I tried and failed to take a bath; it was somehow impossible for me to figure out how to get the drain plug in the hotel’s enormous bathtub to seal, and I didn’t want to call the front desk at almost midnight to ask them about it, so I gave up. (The next night I MacGyvered myself a plug of a plastic bag and a water glass. It worked like a charm.) I changed, and pulled up a yoga video on my phone. A few months ago, I challenged myself to do 30 straight days of yoga. I posted on Instagram Stories that I was trying to do this, which was honestly the only thing that kept me doing it for all 30 days. And when the 30 days were up, I kept going; this is the 88th day. Doing this has made me take some time to breathe in these hectic few months.
I piled overpriced skin care items on my face, closed the blackout shades on the windows, and tucked myself into my enormous hotel bed with my Kindle. I’ve never understand why there’s this war between people who read e-books and people who read paper books. I read and love both, but nothing beats e-books for reading in bed. I clicked on Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer—a book I’ve read countless times—and turned off the lights, already excited about the room-service breakfast I was going to eat in bed the next morning.