Wow, I knew it had been a while since I’d written a blog, but I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted one since June! Much too long! Have you ever noticed that you can’t actually do everything you want to do? That there is this thing called time that is a finite commodity? And energy, too, has limits? I hate that, yet it does seem to be true.
I’ve wanted to blog, thought about it and started some, but have gravitated instead toward other creative endeavors the past few months. The main project has been completing the first draft of my new book (as yet untitled). I currently have what Anne Lamott calls a shitty first draft (SFD), although to give myself credit, it’s actually farther along than that. I’ve worked on parts of it for a while, so much of it is past the SFD phase. The ending needs work. The novel needs revisions and edits, for sure, but I’m excited and proud to have this draft done.
This is the third book I’ve written, and each of the three are uniquely special to me. Five Days showed me that I could write a book, which I never thought about doing until I did it. Those characters spoke to me, their story magically working its way through me. This new book is the best written, which makes sense since I’ve written more and workshopped more and learned more. It feels more marketable, like it might have a better hook. It opens with a woman watching her ex-husband being killed by his new wife, according to a plan she has choreographed yet has nothing to do with. How did they get here? Wait and see!
The other major writing-related task that has occupied my summer is moving my second book, All I Know, toward publication. I had planned to work with a hybrid publisher but for various reasons I adjusted course and am now self-publishing, which is kind of like building a house…so many choices you never thought about…trim size and paper color are like drawer pulls and faucet handles. I had to choose whether to tackle it entirely myself or hire professionals to help support the process. I chose to hire help (I wouldn’t build a house myself either!), but the selection process was also stressful, especially when it felt like I chose poorly with the hybrid publisher. So that involved letting go of one bad experience, doing homework and research, and trusting myself to make a better decision this time, which I think I have. Then there’s hiring someone to design my cover, which I’m happy to say has gone splendidly! My first round of designs are beautiful, and I am confident that I will have a wonderful cover by the time we’re done collaborating.
A huge part of this creative journey is keeping faith, not getting weighed down by self-doubt. A challenge in writing and in life. Nagging shame and criticism are ever-present, Brené Brown’s aptly identified twin gremlins of “you suck” and “who do you think you are,” the simultaneous fear of being worse than everyone else and being perceived as thinking I’m better. Pushing through that takes as much energy as any of the actual, logistical tasks.
So, with these other creative ventures moving forward, I can now circle back to blogging. I will try not to disappear on you again, although I can’t promise anything, since it feels like just another part of my year of surrender, writing what needs to be written when it needs to happen.