Not only is it my birthday, but it is my book's birthday. You heard me, I've leveled up and my book was birthed ten long years ago. I equate its birth to when I hit print on the first full draft of A Single Girl's Guide to Wedding Survival. That of course was not its name yet, then it was called Mixed Signals due to all text messages exchanged in the story.
After printing off a massive stack of papers, I clipped the pages together and set off for the hospital. My mother had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Her initial prognosis was she had 90 days to live. The scariness of her illness became my impetus to write the book. I was beyond happy when I carted the finished manuscript to her bedside.
She read the whole thing that day and told me how proud she was for me writing the book in six and half weeks. With the writing of the book done, so I thought, I shelved it and focused on spending time with my mother as she continued to fight her cancer. Thankfully, she recovered. It took years for her to fully recover, but she did it.
A few months after I first hit print, I started the agent hunt. Oh, the publishing world hoops were long and grueling. I had a few nibbles but no one had wanted to pick up the book. Then I stumbled across Margie Lawson's Writing Academy and decided maybe the manuscript needed some polishing.
Into the classes and revision rabbit holes, I fell. I found a whole slew of things from both a writing style and story structure point of view I wanted to fix. Cue drafts 2 through 30+ and years of toil. Granted, I started over half a dozen new stories along the way when I needed a break from A Single Girl's Guide's edits. Though sadly, those works-in-progresses were destined for the big blue recycling bin in the sky.
Then in 2018, the revenge of AML struck back at my mother. Here I was again with my mother sick and my book still not published. Everything else became shelved and I dove into learning how I could self-publish the book myself. I ran into timing issues getting all the pieces in place in a fast enough timeline. My mother never held the finished novel in her hand before she passed.
Yet I knew I had made the right decision in not rushing to publish as soon as she relapsed because A) my mother was a firm believer that if you're going to do something, do it right the first time and I made sure I put out the best book I could and B) my mother would have been pushing me to get the product out into the world so working on it all in the early days of grief gave me focus.
Finally, last December I released the book into the world and took a break. Though I can feel the need to start again on a new story. How do I know I'm ready to begin? My vocabulary gets more verbose. That's my tell. It's like my brain overflows with language and needs to get it out of me.
Never fear, the creative bug is gnawing and I wrote a little half scene yesterday just to shake off my writing entropy. *smiles* See I told you, it begins with highfalutin words.
Cheers! Kanpai! Opa!
How ever you express joy around your friends, here's to hoping my next level up be the best one yet.
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