At Least My Mom Will Read It

I was at a conference where Lisa Baylis talk about self-compassion for educators in a time of burnout. In a brief critique, I want to tell you that she’s great. Check out her website. Find her on Insight Timer. If you get lucky enough, see her in person. She’s a great educator.

I walked away with a bunch of nuggets on how to survive bits and pieces of life as an educator. She also affirmed that my survival toolbox is a thorough and useful one. She was charismatic and an excellent storyteller. I laughed. I dug her. Her anecdotal stories spoke to me as an educator but she also told a specific story that spoke to me, the writer.

Writing a book

Ms. Baylis told the audience that she struggled with the idea of writing a book, Self Compassion for Educators, more than actually writing it. She confessed that when she was writing it she was terrified. She went through all the feelings she experienced after putting so much time into one project. What if it was a flop? Who was going to read it? Was her effort to be published a waste of time? She consoled herself but knowing that “at least my mom will read it.” The audience laughed at that. I did too. She did indeed give her book to her mom to read. Her mother gave it back—after reading it—with a basic reflection “But Lisa, it’s kind of boring, don’t you think?” The audience laughed at her mom’s candid reflection.

Fortunately, her book has been successful, and more than just her mom read it.


Although Lisa Baylis’s lecture was spot on for us as educators this small story (although focused on the illustration of fear) spoke to me more as a writer than an educator. I thought about my personal book. I have published four so far, with my writing partner, David Gane, but I took the plunge and did a solo project. I feel a lot like a toddler letting go of the hand that helps them move forward. This is the first thing I’ve done on my own. So, it’s pretty scary.

I’m sending my book off to the editor. I think the same thing Lisa Baylis did: who’s going to read it? I worry a little. A lot. In my partnership, I share the worry, so it feels like less. Terry Pratchett said, “the first draft is you just telling yourself the story.” He’s right. It was. Then I told it to my first readers—five sweet humans who volunteered their time to give me feedback. Now the editor gets it. And, well, shit’s getting real.


I think of female writers I admire. Elizabeth Gilbert. Cheryl Strayed. Jeanette Winterson. Did they worry about the success of their books? Or did they leap into the experience of faith? I pretend they worried a little too so that in the insecure corners of my heart I feel connected to a similar experience. I suppose this is the plunge. A leap of faith. I’m doing it on my own and whatever will be, will be. Que sera, sera.

Confession: My mom may likely not read it but that’s okay. I am solid on a couple other people in my life turning the pages.

As always, thanks for reading lovelies.

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