THE MILESTONE TAPES is wrapping up it’s time as being my number one. I’m soon sending it off to an editor, and I’ve already begun the outline for my follow-up novel. I’m preparing to finish this chapter of my life with Jenna, Mia, Gabe and Ginny–who have become my friends. It’s bittersweet, exhilarating, and scary. This is a time of reflection, the calm place where I can sit back and amaze at what I accomplished–my work ethic that was a little engine that could. The grind is slowing…a few more stops–the editor, the formatter–and we’ve reached the station. The book will be published, and I’ll be forced to move on–because that’s we do. We finish one and begin again.
Mark and I were hanging out in the family room this evening, sipping on mugs of Keurig hot chocolate with stacks of whipped cream floating in the sea of steaming cocoa, and we got to talking about this journey I’ve been on.
Mark believes that the book–in and of itself–is the major accomplishment. Just my ability to write one left him wonderstruck for a long time–I used to call him and say, I wrote 3,000 words today and he’d be amazed. I tend to agree with him while also disagreeing–writing only a part of the bigger accomplishment.
For me, everything about this has been an accomplishment, a milestone, which is appropriate because that is the title of my first book. All of it, from finding the right cover artist, the queries, to the editor, to simply not ripping my hair out at the root and, of course, this little blog, meant something major.
It’s now that I look back on all the people who have you ever said to someone “anyone can write a book?”…after doing it, that sentiment is laughable. Writing a book is more than typing words. It’s everything–the feeling of accomplishment truly a sum of all its parts.
It dawned on me, probably for the first time, that writing a book is a lot like being spun up and dropped, head first, into THE WIZARD OF OZ.
Most everyone knows the story of Dorothy and Toto and their band of misfits. But to look at it from the angle of art, it’s a subtly different context…
At first, as this begins, you’re just a normal person doing the normal things that make up your normal life. Then, a twister comes along and takes you to another place. That twister is your book, and that land of Oz it the world of publishing. You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.
It’s a magical second world, beaming with colors that juxtapose you’re black and white existence. You can tell, standing there for the first moment, that there are possibilities in this literary land of Oz. Wild dreams and bright flashes of the future–fame, fortune, glossy books and people who want your autograph–it’s enchanting and encouraging–you want it. But the road is long. Fraught with flying monkeys, vengeful trees, fields of poppies, a gatekeeping wizard who hold the key to all you desire and the witch of the west with her broom and cauldron boiling with ways to trip you up.
You listen to the good witch, believe in her–that’s your friends and family who will help, arm you with the tools and encourage you along.
You collect your companions; the editor, the cover artist, the formatter . They all become your lion, your tin-man, your scarecrow–the odds and ends that you need to make through. And you set off down the yellow brick road to wherever it may it go.
The trees–they want to grab you and hold you–they can be nothing but the querying process. All those letters, personalized and delivered by e-mail or post, and all the downtrodden rejections that follow. But you throw apples of resilience at each one, they can’t hold–try as they might.
The monkey’s–they want to scare you–they are all the naysayers and doubters that raise a brow at your writing. You find a way outrun that, you fight, because you believe you can.
The beautiful poppies–that’s real life. The distractions that tire you out, that pull you down, the writers block that comes up at the most inopportune times.
The wizard–no surprise there–he’s the gatekeeper of traditional publishing. It’s where many people want to land–the written Oz. A land of impossible realities.
And the wicked witch–well, that’s kind you, believe it or not. It’s a sum of all your mistakes, all the things you’d do differently given the chance.
Maybe I’m only the crazy one who can think of it like this…but I do. I’ve loved every moment of my first journey. And I’m so looking forward to the beginning of the chapter two and what comes next.