I wrote a book.
If I were completely full of myself, I’d add a photo of a microphone being dropped click publish. But, as I am not that person, feel I should expound.
I hesitated sharing as my book isn’t ready for public consumption. Yet, I really did it. Even now, over a month later, I cannot believe that I wrote a book. I spent a lot of hours pouring a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this project. I had more fun in my little make-believe world that I could have ever imagined.
I’ve known since I was a little girl that I was supposed to be a writer. Thanks to a teacher who shan’t be named, I put all of those dreams on the back burner. She made me feel as if I weren’t worthy enough to write anything more than my name on a piece of paper. When you’re young and impressionable, those words from someone who is supposed to be leading you can change your entire world.
It changed mine.
Instead of writing, I did everything I could to avoid it. Weird jobs, lots of travel, marriage, kid, you name it, I did it. I started finding my voice again thanks to my friend, Shellie. We grew up together — she lived down the street from my Grandmother when we were kids.
Shellie and I reconnected on the old Classmates.com site long before Facebook was a glimmer in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye and we started sending long emails, having even longer phone calls, and chatting on instant messaging. One day she said “Don’t you like to write?” and after what I assume was a yes, asked, “Then why aren’t you doing it.”
So, I did. I had some minor things published here and there. My blog was already in existence so I could update family on the shenanigans of my then toddler. This morphed into wanting a different space for my voice as I hated pitching. Hello, blogging.
When so many of us started blogging in the early days (I started in 2002) we wanted our voices to be heard. We wanted people to think, to feel, and to know that we weren’t alone in our tiny little corner of the internet.
Since several family members read my blog, and always ask when I’m going to finish my book, I’ll just lay out my next steps. When I finished on Christmas Eve, I set it aside and let is rest. I was tired of the story, the grind of the previous months, but most of all I needed distance.
Distance is anything is key to being able to come back to it and look at it with fresh eyes. I’m not sure I’ve given it enough distance, but it keeps calling to me. My folder where I stash the index cards with notes for an idea or change that shows up when I’m chopping veggies is growing thicker by the day.
Revisions started yesterday. They always say enjoy and have fun with the writing process as revisions are the hard part of writing. Listen to those people, as they are wise and telling you the truth. I spent 3 hours yesterday and revised a total of 1500 words. I’m still not happy, so I’ll continue to revise until I can look at it and say “this is good enough.”
Once I say “it’s good enough” I’ll send it to my beta readers. These are dedicated people who love literature and will read this book with a critical eye while being kind to my soul. Those are the best beta readers to have in your corner.
Self-publishing is great, but I am going to aim for the traditional publishing route. I’ve had some good advice from friends in the industry and when I’m ready, and once I have had feedback from my beta readers, and another round or five of revisions, I’ll start shopping it.
My goal is to start sending queries out this autumn, but that’s just a loose plan and not set in stone. While I work well with structure, I prefer to give this wildly audacious goal the flexibility it needs to truly come into fruition. The possibilities are endless, but I have to allow them to be possible, without worrying about the outcomes.
Writers write because we have to. We don’t have a choice. And all writers want to be published. I could go about and say “I don’t care if I’m published or not — that wasn’t the goal — it is about the art.”
It is about the art–to a degree.
I’m not worried about the outcome. Anyone who writes a book wants to see their book on the shelves in a bookstore. That would be nice. My goal is a little different. Weird, but different.
I find that I’m actually happy I achieved this goal and could place a copy of the rough draft in my son’s hands and say “You can do anything you set your mind to. Here’s the proof.”
I wrote a book.