The journey to complete my third book, Seven Lives, has been both thrilling and exhausting! I set a personal goal for myself, sometime in January, that I wanted to finish the manuscript within a year of starting. Here’s a bit about how that went ;)
Outwardly, this goal seemed achievable. I started the book on March 6, 2017 and I finished it in July of 2017 (4 months of writing in Cape Verde, Lisbon, NYC, and LA!). However, since I wrote the book by hand, it took me another two months (in LA and Austin!) to type it. Still, by the end of September, I had the basis of the book.
Then, I spent October – December creating paragraphs and chapters…and completing the first edit. It was a lot more work than I expected! After traveling for half of 2017 and working on the book nonstop, by the time the holidays hit I was exhausted! Still, I was determined. After a few days rest here and there, I forged ahead.
My first edit showed me that I’d need another. And then another. I would go on to spend January – March completing three more edits of the 1,200 page (3 book!) manuscript. As I creeped closer to March 6th, I didn’t sleep much. I began to feel crazy for making such a firm goal, but I didn’t stop. I wanted to enter the #PitMad event with a manuscript that I felt was polished. Eventually, I met both goals. And I’ve tried to remember to celebrate that a bit when I’m not resting ;)
One thing I’ve learned about writing a novel is that it always feels like there’s more that can be tweaked or improved. On March 5th, the day I ‘finished’, I still felt like I could benefit from another review. Indeed, every time I read part of my book, I seem to find a word or phrase that I could change. It feels a bit like an endless loop. But I knew that I had to stop. I had to admit to myself that I’d taken my book as far as I could take it…and that I could benefit from professional expertise to get it the rest of the way.
For this reason, and others, I’ve decided to seek out a literary agent to partner with to bring Seven Lives into the world through a large publishing house! Though I have enjoyed the autonomy of publishing my first two books exactly as I’ve wanted them, I’ve been spreading myself too thin. My joy is in the creative process and in the discussions I have with audiences once the book is in the world. I’ve come to realize that I’m simply not left with enough energy to properly manage the marketing and sales of the titles, too.
Still, I am fortunate to have learned from the process of doing it all with a beautiful hardcover coffee table book (Meditative Questions) and a print on demand paperback (unbreakable). I’m more familiar with the industry now and I’ve had the beautiful experience of seeing my book in the hands of others!
As I embark on the journey of finding an agent, I again have the feeling that maybe this is a never-ending process! I’ve now traded in manuscript edits for query letters, pitches, and synopses…but I keep reminding myself that this is all forward motion. And I tell you truly that I wouldn’t be able to focus on these elements if I had not decided within myself that my last edit was great enough to move forward with. I don’t say perfect…I say great…because I do believe that perfection can be the enemy of greatness.
And so I say to you that no matter what you’re working on, I hope that you give yourself permission to believe — at some point — that what you are working on is great, even if you don’t feel it is perfect. The world needs your art! And for the world to experience it, you must — at some point — believe that it is complete. Sometimes just acknowledging to yourself that it is complete will help you move forward to the next steps of getting support, where you might need it, to get you the rest of the way there. I send you love and light as you work your magic! ;)
Photo source: My mobile phone ;) From a beautiful day here in Ponta do Sol, Cape Verde