Somewhere in the middle of last year, I decided that I would write a book. I had the content captured in my blog and my private writing, but knew that it needed to be organized and re-written and edited. Still, it was something I wanted to pursue.In the last month or so of my pregnancy with Autumn, I distracted myself by working on this project. I did research on self-publication. I gathered and began organizing my content. Even in those last few weeks, not convinced that I would be bringing a baby home, I thought “Well – that’s an ending to this story either way: either I am bringing home my rainbow baby, or I’m not. Either way, I will be writing.”
After she was born, I began to further organize. I printed out pages of writing at a time, did some editing, revision. I was making incremental progress, finding that working on very short segments per week was manageable between the house, the kids (including a newborn) and my actual paying job. Then the Christmas season arrived and everything went bananas and I fell out of my routine.
Now, the new year. My resolution to myself is to make progress. Still, I felt a bit stuck. I was too close to my own writing. I knew it needed work, but I didn’t know how. Through the interwebs, I found a young woman who was a freelance editor. She had worked as an editor in a more formal setting, but had left and started her own business. Being new in the field, she had reasonable rates.
I decided to send her only a portion of what I had written, because I needed some direction and sending her the entirety would likely not change her feedback. I sent her the entire first section, a portion of the middle, and the very last chapter, explaining how the “gaps” were filled with what she did not have, and forewarning her that what I sent was rough and not fully edited. To some extent, I just needed to send it.
Her response came within a few days, and included fourteen typed pages of feedback, prefaced with “My feedback is meant to be constructive and I know it can be hard to hear for something so personal.” But she also wrote that with some key changes, she thought it was a powerful and much-needed story.
So now I need to sit and absorb the feedback. I glanced through the first few pages, and know it was what I needed: outside eyes, pointing out issues that I needed to address. It will help me become “unstuck” and be able to move forward. But I can also see that I need to do a lot more work. And also need to set a realistic goal for myself for when I can complete this project.
In the meantime, I continue to send essays to various websites (had another one accepted this week and cannot wait for it to be published!) I started a Patreon account for people who want to support my work. Putting my story out in small pieces will help build for a larger story. I have more story than what I have ever written publicly, and know that it is a story that I want to tell.
(Rocket ship picture courtesy of my wonderful husband)