Calm Before the Storm


In the time leading up to a big day, you do everything you can. You make plans. You consider contingencies. You supply, you restock. You practice, you rehearse, you try to anticipate. You ask for help … a lot of help.

Good planning goes a long way. Giving a speech is a lot easier if you know exactly what you want to say. Laying the foundation for maximum impact comes through careful work done over the course of weeks, months, and years.

But some of the plans, you already know, will need to be adjusted on the fly. “No plan survives contact with the enemy on the battleground,” as they say. And in this case, the enemy is Taliban-like: hard to pin down; hard to predict. The enemy is tight schedules, dozens of unknown venues, places you’ve never been, and countless variables outside your control. (Not to mention your own fears and doubts … ultimately the most challenging enemies.)

In the interim between calm and storm, it’s good to take a long run early in the morning, preferably up an extinct volcano near your apartment. Or if you don’t run, just walk. Go outside and look up at the sky and say to yourself: “Whatever happens, things will be different after this is over.”

Process is important. It’s not the big event; it’s what led up to the event to bring you there. It’s not the finished product; it’s remembering what you put into it. Worldly success is fleeting, so if you can focus on what will be different in your own life after it’s done, so much the better.

Looking at the work from a distance, you see some things you’re impressed with, and others that you’d change if you could. But it’s too late to change, because in the end, an artist has to deliver. An artist has to be able to say, “Here it is, world! It’s your turn now.” Ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to.

And In This Case

You spend a year writing a book, then you spend a year waiting for it to come out. You ask your publisher about book tours and hear that no one does them anymore because there is no money, and no one buys real books these days anyway. So you decide, what the hell, we’ll do our own book tour. And because nothing worth doing is ever easy, you decide to make it the most epic book tour you could possibly think of.

Then you get on a plane and fly to New York City, home of big dreams, small hotel rooms, and Dunkin’ Donuts. And then, the next morning, it all begins.


Image: SM

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  • tara - scoutie girl says:

    Best wishes to you as you start this new journey! See you in Philly!

  • Kangai says:

    Good luck Chris.

    Wish you were bringing the tour to this part of the world (Kenya).



  • ABCcreativity says:

    this is going to be superawesome.

  • KatherineMO says:

    I just want to wish you peace, joy and calm as you begin your marathon book tour across North America!

    I’m looking forward to meeting you in Montreal in January.

  • Donovan (THE Boot Camp Godfather) says:

    Loving your blog. Just came across it yesterday and immediately recommended it to several of my heretical friends. Your book tour sounds awesome and I wish you the best.

  • michael says:

    Rock on Chris. In addition to passport stamps from all the world’s countries, you will soon have stepped foot in every American state. Indeed, remarkable! Travel well.

  • Sachit Gupta says:

    Good luck Chris! See you in NYC.

  • Mike Ziarko Musing says:

    The destination counts as much as the journey, and to your point.. it’s what happens after you hit that destination that matters most.

    What an epic trip you have ahead Chris! This is no doubt going to be one of the highlight trips of your life, meeting all those people in many different interesting places.

    Have a great time!

  • Elissa says:

    It’s going to be seriously epic, Chris!

    Ghandi called, he said way to go on being the change you want to see in the world.

  • Andi says:

    Best wishes on your epic book tour! I know you’re going to rock it!!!

  • Tamara Schafhauser says:

    Best of luck!!!!

  • Rex says:

    Nothing more exciting than the start of an amazing journey! Enjoy each and every moment including each and every curve that comes your way. Kendra and I will see if we can’t meet up with you at one of your Texas stops.

  • Naomi Dunford says:

    Congratulations, my friend. I am so, so proud of you.

  • Daisy says:

    Good luck!

  • Kathleen Andersen says:

    I see you’ll be in Calgary next January. If you need anything just let me know and I’ll see how I can help.

  • Laura Cococcia says:

    This is right on – see you in NYC! This is a journey that won’t be forgotten in all of our collective memories. So glad we can all share it together.

  • Kristine Porter says:

    What an amazing adventure you’re on! Since I’ll be out-of-town when you hit my city (Chicago), I will be driving 5 hours to DesMoines, IA to bring you some cupcakes or brownies there! Enjoy the road!

  • Steve Hicks says:

    What inspires me most about this book tour is that even when your publisher said no, you decided to go big….actually you decided to go epic, and do it on your own…the unconventional way.

    Thanks for inspiring through your words, and more importantly, through your actions. See ya in Phoenix.

  • Linas Matulis says:

    Thanks for the post, Chris!

    I’m in the process myself, so your email was very timely and very accurate. It makes me feel what you feel. Or “halucinate” that I do, you never know:)

    Still, I’m sending you my support and best regards,


  • Kristin + Shannon says:

    The book rocks. Can’t wait to put up our review in the AM. Thank you for your insight, honesty, and inspiration; your story has been invaluable in the telling of ours.

    -The girls at All of Us

  • Seonaid says:

    Good luck Chris! This is a fab (and ever so slightly crazy) idea! Hope it works out really well.

  • Ted Kusio says:

    Hope I can get away from this MASSIVE PROJECT and see you talk, Chris!
    FYI We have more than just small hotel rooms and Dunkin’ Donuts here in NYC…! 🙂

  • rob white says:

    I agree Chris… process is everything. The creation of work is so enthralling that the finished piece is often boring… and thus on to the next creation. Congratulations, looks like you have a thrilling process ahead of you on your tour.

  • Tyler says:

    Chris, everyone is so pumped for this tour. As long as you keep going, you can’t possibly fail. There are just too many people on your side.

    Good luck, man! See you when you make it back to Portland.

  • Janice Cartier says:

    Remember this moment..the just before…:) And then enjoy the rest….it’s going to be fantastic. xo Jan

  • ginastama says:

    Impeccable timing with this article, from my perspective..and I wish you well in NYC!

  • Lisa Nigro says:

    And then you realize right in the midst of the chaos you are “right where you are supposed to be” and this whole thing will grow you in ways that you never even dreamed possible…..

    I am jealous…..


  • Cathy Luders says:

    Congratulations, good luck and thanks! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog the last few years. You have been an inspiration!

  • Lisa MB says:

    Thanks for the doing the book tour that only YOU could, Chris. Congratulations!!

    See you in St. Louis!

  • Krista says:

    Much luck to you Chris! You will do well!

  • Malwina says:

    Congratulations, Chris! I can’t wait to get the book!

  • Etsuko says:

    Yay Chris! I can’t wait….it’ll be amazing!!!
    See you in a few months!


  • Erica Basnicki says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m actually just beginning a major year of “process,” and knowing what I’m like, I have to remember to focus on the process and not the end product itself. This was a nice reminder!

    Cheers and good luck!

  • Charlie says:

    Congrats to you, my friend. I look forward to seeing in my town, or your town or any other damn town.

    Enjoy your dreams as they come true.



  • Sylvia says:

    All the best to you on your journey! May it be all you wish it to be.

  • soultravelers3 says:

    Best of luck to you Chris, I’m sure it will be a great success! I am honored that you interviewed us for the book.

    Sending good vibes your way from Barcelona!

  • H. Michael Karshis says:

    Best of luck with the tour Chris! Bummer that San Antonio didn’t make the list!

    Happy Trails,


  • Lee Garverick says:

    That post is beautiful. Good luck!

  • Raven says:

    Vermont is filled w/non-conformists! When are you arriving?

  • Brian Monahan, Expert In The Rough says:

    Wish I could meet you in Cincinnati but I will be in a seminar starting that morning. Let me know if you need anything when you are in town.

    Brian Monahan

  • Debbie Ferm says:

    Congrats to you, and good luck! Remember to enjoy it:)

  • Ramona says:

    hope to see you in vancouver.

  • Catherine Morgan says:

    Chris, your book tour is going to be amazing! You are going to meet some great people and have lots of wild stories to share on your blog. Good luck! I am so sorry that I will be on a plane when you are in Chicago. I would have brought cupcakes and everything 🙁

  • Katie says:

    You are going to do great! I am very excited to get my copy this week.

  • Amanda says:

    Great post! So many of us are sending good thoughts to you during your amazing journey. Have fun!

  • dezy walls says:

    Good luck with book tour … we are touring USA doing house concerts and will spend some time in Portland, a city we love … I think you’ll be away between 10/24 and 11/7 but we’ll enjoy your city anyway.

  • Devin says:

    Hey Chris,

    Sadly, publishing has changed. The concept of a book tour is now relegated to a couple of stops in New York and Los Angeles, because no one has the money to fund such things. So writers are now stuck having to take their advances and figure it out themselves. Not surprisingly, you figured it out.

    Nice post and I agree with what everyone else is saying here.

  • Saundra Howard says:

    Take heart — I remember finding a surprising comment by an editor of a medical magazine and it’s stuck with me: “When the electricity goes off, give me a candle and a good book.” There are still plenty of us who, as much as we depend on high-tech gadgets, still find solace in the low-tech, “real” hard copies…..

  • Linda says:

    Uh…I understand it’s difficult to find a Dunk’s in NYC, but there are PLENTY in New England! Hope to get over to Manchvegas (NH) to see you on your book tour.
    Have a great time.

  • Linda Gabriel says:

    WooHOOO! I just won one of the copies you offered through World Changing Writing pals Pace & Kylie. Can’t wait to have you sign it when you come to Los Angeles. Isn’t it great that sometimes non-conformity means doing the thing that conformists USED to do? Gotta love this crazy ol’ remarkable world we live in. See you in December. Happy travels.

  • Pascal says:

    Best luck Chris on your tour, can’t wait to receive your book.

  • viqueen says:

    Can hardly wait to meet you in Omaha! May you have a fabulous journey.

  • Hillary says:

    Thanks for reminding us that it’s the process that matters more than the end result. I also appreciated the reminder that our own fears are often our biggest enemies. Keep pushing on and good fortune will find you!

  • Luce says:

    Congratulations in hitting this big milestone for you. Enjoy the book tour and I can’t wait to hear about it.

  • Alex Hajicek says:

    “It’s not the big event; it’s what led up to the event to bring you there.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Best of luck!

  • Zachary says:

    Enjoy the ride Chris 🙂

  • Barbara says:

    You have worked hard Chris and this is part of the reward. You have built a small and growing army and we will be supporting you – and each other – along the way!

  • Heather Allard says:

    Congratulations, Chris! Will you be coming to Providence? Would love to meet you and buy your book!


  • Jennifer says:

    For years I’ve wanted to be self – employed using my nearly life long skills and passions: writing and photography. Obligations and children came along and I got side-tracked from my dream. I bought into the false sense of security that a “job” gives.

    Then I found your site and Zen Habits. Then lots of other resources. I began a blog and started making plans to live the way I want to.

    Not quite two weeks ago my well paying, but extremely stressful position became redundant. I see this as the perfect gift. I now have the time to devote to my goals.

    I’ve just started a souvenir business and my wedding photography business will be up and running within seven weeks. Other micro-businesses to follow.

    So thank you for sharing your ongoing journey so candidly. You are going to do just fine on this tour. By the way, people like me do still buy real books. 🙂

    Take care and enjoy the ride…
    Grand Bahama Island

  • Tim Dean says:

    one of the best things you’ve written Chris

  • Bonnie says:

    You will be outstanding!!

    I’ll look for you in DC or Baltimore – I know there’s a schedule somewhere.


  • Christopher says:

    Here’s to domination! See you in NJ!

  • Josh Bulloc says:

    Now you have done the writing and publishing you are 20% done. Now time to market and sell your butt off.

    Josh Bulloc
    Kansas City, MO
    How can I help?

  • Amanda says:

    May the tribe be with you!

  • Mindy says:

    Have a great time on your tour Chris! I’m sure it is going to be AWESOME 🙂

  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

    Happy book touring:) I’m keeping an eye on my letter box and looking forward to reading it. I know the book will be marevelous and everyone who reads it will be inspired:)Have fun meeting your peeps.

  • Callie Oettinger says:

    Happy Travels and Bookselling! See you in D.C.

  • Melissa Dinwiddie says:

    Congrats Chris! Have fun, and I’ll see you in San Francisco! (And thanks for the sweet email.)

    Don’t forget to let me know how else I can help.

  • Lindy klk says:

    Hi Chris,
    I really want to say ‘Ditto’ to all the above comments ~ they have all said it perfectly!!
    I too believe it is one of your best posts to date and though it may relate to your book tour, it is so pertinent to us!!
    Thank you for putting it so succinctly!!
    Best wishes for a wonderful, exciting (& tiring!!) time ~

  • Adeline Chong says:

    Have the time of your life. Real excited for you!


  • Sheila Martin says:

    Absolutely lovely, Chris.

    See you next year, in either Victoria or Vancouver…

  • Douglas says:

    Wow! What a wonderful way to start your book tour in the big city of New York.
    Congratulations again and looking forward to seeing you in Michigan.

  • Arthur says:

    Cool post! It’s true that nothing will ever get done until you take the first step to make it happen and that one must be ready to face whatever may come, but also always ready for contingencies.

    Your blog’s amazing! Best wishes.

  • Jonathan says:

    good luck Chris! I cannot wait to purchase the book tomorrow.

  • Aaron says:

    Everything is going to go great, Chris! Look forward to seeing you in LA!!!

  • Lisa says:

    You are an inspiration. Good luck on the tour and keep us all posted. See you in Boston.

  • Bill Enross says:

    Word Up Chris – See you in Cambridge on Friday, rock on.

  • Jon - iPad Case says:

    Congratulations on getting a mention by Seth Godin! I just read his latest post and there you were! That should help with your book sales!

  • Trisha Carter says:

    May you have many memorable, enjoyable, challenging and thrilling moments as you go on this journey.

    Look forward to following from afar

  • Karen says:

    Looking forward to when you’re in Toronto – will enjoy meeting you!

  • Wyman says:

    Hi Chris,

    You did really great on the book. I read it in a couple of days. Just heard from Amazon that the three pre-sale books have been shipped. I will pass them around and try to increase your readership. Have fun on the book tour. I hope your wife will fly out to see you regularly.

  • Jennifer Moore says:

    WTG, Chris! Safe travels, and I look forward to seeing you in DC!

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