It feels like only weeks ago I was sitting at my little table in the public library. Biography section on the left, self-help on the right, and me at my table in the middle because here was a bright space with a window. I sat there almost every Monday morning for a span of three or so hours, and I did this for the better part of three years.
Ahead of me were floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on a patch of lawn and a little bench for sitting. And only a few steps beyond that was the woods full of trees, deciduous and otherwise.
The woods were a fine distraction, rain or shine. Most trees look beautiful in any weather. But there was no door giving me immediate access to them, so there was nothing for it but to sit at my table, laptop waiting, and admire.
More accessible was the alcove on this side of the plate glass, the one with the comfortable chairs and ottoman. The magazine subscription section flanks that alcove, and it beckoned with all manner of photograph and slick-paper distraction. But I never gave in to that.
I did repeatedly read the spines of the books around me. I read them blindly, I think (if there is such a thing), because I can now remember none of the titles. But there they were, week after week, staring back at me.
Maybe this is what it takes to finish writing a book? A little Inspiration, a little Discipline.
But by far the most important were the books–because they were all finished. Their authors had completed them. No matter how many days, weeks, and months of focused, silent sitting, the represented authors had eventually reached The End.
So here’s to Determination: If they did it, I could do it, too.
It’s been more than a year since one of those Mondays, a fact I find very difficult to believe. It’s been almost a year since I signed a contract with my publisher, nearly six months since I mailed in the last edits.
Within the last month, I sent in the list of errors I found in the review copy, and about a week ago I got my hands on a polished edition (above), clean of all those random errors–including the alarming sentence in the last paragraph on page 58, which read exactly as follows: “l.”
I have no explanation for this, and I am so glad it’s gone.
And four days ago, I polished up that vital paragraph at the end of the book, the one that reads “Acknowledgments.” It’s over now; it’s finished.
I did it.
This is still somewhat unbelievable to me. How long does it take, I wonder, to adjust from dream-work-hope to reality? Human beings, I’ve found, are complex creatures, and some of us transition more readily than others.
In my defense, the reality of having finished a book is not quite yet a reality. Healing Maddie Brees is in the hands of select reviewers and is, otherwise, not yet in circulation. I have a little over two months left before the book is *out there,* so to speak, before the conversation I’ve been wanting to have can be had because people have read her.
A week ago, I was offered a peek into what the conversation might be: last Saturday, Kirkus Reviews let me and my publisher know what they thought of the book, and on Thursday I was allowed to share it with the world.
I was and I remain overjoyed and so grateful. Grateful that they chose to review it (in this business, decision to review or not is entirely up to the reviewer). Grateful that they like it. Grateful that they find it beautiful. Grateful that the conversation I am wanting to have might, in fact, be a conversation this book will engender.
And so grateful that those silent hours, pent up at my table in the library, have produced this book.
Now Healing Maddie Brees has ten weeks and three days before she can “go outside.” On September 13, she will be released from bookstores and Amazon, finally available to be read. That’s seventy-three days.
I’ve learned a lot about publishing books in the past year. One year ago, I knew nothing but inspiration, discipline, and determination, the story in my head pitted against the blankness of my laptop’s screen.
I had no idea–beyond writing it–what effort, wisdom, experience and help is needed to really launch a book into the world. My editor and publisher have been nothing short of astounding in getting Healing Maddie Brees where she is now: toes at the threshold, almost ready to go.
I’m so grateful for this, too.
If you are interested, if you would like (and if you haven’t already), here is something you can do to help out:
- take a Pledge-to-Buy. See the tab on this website for how and why this works. I currently have 298 pledges. If and when I reach 500, we will choose ten pledgers (that’s a thing) to receive a free iBook of the novel.