To see a big goal come to fruition is equal parts exciting as it is terrifying. For me, it was the sudden, very stark realisation that my ideas would be shared and may not be well-received. In the days leading up to my book launch, I oscillated between excitement and absolute fear- what if my book upsets or infuriates people?
Crazy I know, because my ideas are grounded in research and science, but a fear none the less.
A combination of excitement and fear was exactly how I felt about my book launch that was held on 29th June 2016 that was held in Manly (Sydney, Australia).
For almost 18 months I’d envisioned holding my book and seeing other parents holding it and placing it on their bedside table (or let’s be honest, stashing it in their handbags just in case they got a spare 5 minutes to read if they arrived early at school pick-up). I spent a lot of time thinking about who would read this book and how the book could serve them (I did this as much to ensure that the book was relevant and practical, as I did to motivate me to continue to write it- there were lots of moments of self-doubt as I lifted the lid and write each day at 4am).
I really wanted the book to eradicate parents’ fears and concerns about raising kids in a digital world. I wanted the book to empower parents to make informed choices about how they’ll use technology with their children so that their kids’ screen habits are healthy and helpful. I wanted to write a book that made parents alert, but not alarmed about the potential pitfalls of children’s digital infatuation. And I’m delighted to say that it’s exactly what I’ve accomplished. You can find out more about the book here.
Having received my first copy of the book several weeks ago, I’ve only just plucked up the courage to dive into the book two weeks ago (I was so worried I’d have author’s-remorse and want to re-write lots of it). I’m proud (and relieved) to say that the book delivers on what I’d hoped. It’s practical, but also grounded in the research and science. It’s got lots of simple tips (you really could just read the tip boxes if you’re really time-poor), but comprehensive background information for those inquisitive ones who want to dive deeper.
And I’m not the only one who’s saying that. Since the launch I’ve been inundated with lovely messages, tweets, photos and posts of people sharing their copies of the book and their feedback. It’s been a truly humbling experience.
The launch was a wonderful celebration with family, friends and colleagues (as well as bubbles and good food). I delivered a short talk about the digital dilemmas we’re facing as modern parents and then had time to chat with people and have real ‘face-time’ (and cuddles).
It was a great opportunity to celebrate the launch but also the incredible people who’ve supported me along the way (of which there are many). I had the chance on the evening to thank the team at my publishers, Finch Publishing who enabled me to create a book that I’m really proud of and will serve parents well. From Finch, I’d like to thank Rex, Sam and Laura for their help in seeing my book from a rough outline and wobbly manuscript, to a coherent, finished book. I also need to say a HUGE thanks to my colleagues who’ve provided invaluable help and guidance along the way and spent lots of time reviewing the manuscript. Thanks in particular to Dr Kate Highfield, Dr Chip Donohue, Kerry Spina, Kerry Islin, Pamela Moore and Ani Tuna. My wonderful assistant, Kathleen, also deserves a big mention for helping with all of the tedious and unglamorous aspects of writing a book- checking reference formatting and editing infographics.
It was also a public opportunity for me to thank the incredible team of family and friends who’ve enabled me to take this journey. My parents, Jan and Greg, and parents-in-law, Paul and Alison, have spent countless hours with their grandchildren (i.e. a lot of time babysitting), cooking meals and helping out around the house (cleaning, sorting washing, organising things that I just don’t get time to do) so that I could dedicate the time to writing my book (and speaking throughout the country).
My sister, Carly Dircks has also provided immeasurable help along the way- doing everything from organising my launch, to designing business cards, from babysitting kids when a news channel announced that they’ll be around to film a story at my (messy) house within 2 hours, to listening to my many phone calls where I questioned what I’m doing and feeling bouts of self-doubt.
My friends, Alex and Pamela in particular, who’ve endured the conversations and mama-guilt I’ve experienced in bringing this book to life. Their help has been invaluable and always served a scoop of love and encouragement.
And a huge thanks to the gorgeous Lauren, from Sol & Co, who captured some great photos from the night (as well as my new website pictures), at the last minute. Many thanks.
For all of these people, I’m incredibly blessed.
Most importantly, I also got to dedicate my book to my husband, Nick, and my boys, Taj and Billy who’ve made many, many sacrifices for me to write the book. They remind me every day of the importance of unplugging and connecting with real life and the joys in finding the simple pleasures in life. For Nick’s love, unwavering support and encouragement, I’m truly grateful. He has always been my most loyal supporter and has been the most incredible source of inspiration, every.single.day! #myenabler
I’m in the process of planning a speaking tour in Australia, and possibly in Asia for the latter part of 2016. If your school/preschool/organisation is interested in hosting a parent or educator seminar, click here to find out more.
And again, a huge thanks for your support and encouragement.
In the comments below, I’d love to know if you’ve read my book and any thoughts or feedback.