Since last September, I’ve been all
Morning, noon, and night, I poured over my book, determined to meet the February manuscript deadline. As of February 28 at 3:00, I met that deadline–nay, I SLAYED that deadline!–and I learned a few things whilst slaying. Allow me to share my findings:
Writing makes me fat. I’ve gained at least seven pounds and it would’ve been more had we not adopted a puppy who enjoys her daily walks. My virtual teaching gig is sedentary to begin with, then I added a whole bunch of writing on top of it and YIKES. My jeans are very unhappy with me right now.
Also? I’m kinda ewww. Working from home means I don’t have to look nice. I don’t have to put on make-up (read: wash my face) or put on real clothes (read: change out of my pajamas) or take the time to get public-ready (read: brush my teeth before noon). At this point in time I would like to issue a heartfelt apology to those with whom I came in close contact at preschool drop-off and pick-up. Especially during that stretch in December where I wore the same PJ pants for a week straight. Though gross, it was was actually convenient because then I didn’t have to change for bed. Speaking of…
Writing a book is hella exhausting. Though my body was not taxed in the least, my brain was so beat by the end of every day, I collapsed into bed by 9pm every night, dead to the world until morning. Now that I think about it, writing a book actually helped me sleep better. WAIT. Someone tell the doctors I just cured insomnia!!!
Before the book, I had been working out every morning. Since the book, NOT SO MUCH. As a result, my body aches and I feel weak. Oh, and I’ve mentioned the fat. I’m back at it starting tomorrow (lies: Monday) because I think that whole “use it or lose it” saying is true and I’m skeered. #HusbandWTF offered to set up one of those treadmill desks in our office, but I think he just said it so I would stop crying.
In addition to muscle mass, I lost oh so many brain cells. I literally ached over a single sentence for 48-hours. Between word choice and syntax, punctuation and rhythm, I just couldn’t get that SOB exactly how I wanted it. I would forget simple words and end up Googling, “What’s a synonym for difficult?” and subsequently feel like a moron. This mostly happened when I started what I now refer to as the “departure.”
I was originally tapped for this book because my “personality in writing” caught the right person’s eye. It’s a huge compliment, one I don’t take lightly, but it ended up cursing me. There were times I’d get a whole essay down and then re-read it the next day like, “Who the eff wrote this? It sounds like a research paper and NO.” The departure from what landed me a book deal in the first place really started messing with me. I second-guessed all the things: a phrase, a comma, WHAT’S A SYNONYM FOR DIFFICULT. I lost my voice a few times, believing I had to be more scholarly or whatever since the book is about education. Even though the topic is serious, my tone and stories are not necessarily…professional? So throughout the entire writing process, I had to keep reminding myself to be ME: honest, irreverent, and pull no punches when it comes to the hard stuff. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay.
I wasn’t surprised to realize this next thing because I always feel like this about something I write, and most other writers (authors–SQUEE!) agree: it’s never done. We always find something we want to change or update, always working to improve. What I was pleasantly surprised to learn is I LOVE the revision process! I would like to teach a class dedicated solely to The Revision. It’s heavenly. Whenever Jenna, my editor, would send her edits, it was like Christmas morning! I’d open up the document, read through her comments, and strangely never feel insulted. I’m protective of my word babies, but I know Jenna is on my team and together, we nurtured those babies.
About those words: I’m a wee bit scared to share them. Publishing a book makes me feel naked. It’s a one-stop shop peek into my head, which will definitely offend and shock some who are more pinkies-up than middle-fingers up. The book is my first impression and, in some cases, only impression. People will judge my writing (and let’s be honest: ME) by a single piece of work. Makes me vulnerable. Makes me sweaty. At the same time, though…
That’s some exciting stuff right there!
Also exciting (and humbling and wonderful and amazing and OMG you guys!) is the way my people rallied around me. #HusbandWTF was so patient and supportive, though he would interrupt my flow at the worst times and I kinda wanted to murder him in his sleep:
Me: *furiously typing, in the zone, feeling the flow*
Husband: *sits down beside me to watch a YouTube video on youth basketball drills at volume one million*
Generally speaking, my kids were all meh. If I got excited, they would humor me and jump up and down clapping their hands (except my almost 10-year-old son; he’d shrug his shoulders and gift me a “that’s cool.” BUT I’LL TAKE IT).
My parents and brother helped with the kids when I needed it and my mom especially let me call her and read the passages I was struggling with. I must’ve read her the same sentence written five different ways and she never once said, “you’re psychotic,” and I appreciate that about her.
My sweet friends cheered me on the whole time. They checked in, asked about the book, offered to help so many times. And the day I submitted my manuscript, I was showered with congratulations and love. They also brought me this:
I mean, I’ll write a book every month with this kind of treatment!
Looking ahead, I’ll enter into that heavenly space of revisions one a last time, and then some line-by-line editing will take place. We’ll finalize the book cover (I have a book cover!) and then I’ll begin badgering everyone I know in real life and online to pre-order and spread the word! If you’re interested in being part of that group, that I just now named Book Release Pals, please take six seconds to complete the form below so I only badger those who choose to be badgered. That’s a good word, badger. People don’t use it nearly enough.
Aaaanyhoo, sign up here!