Two years ago on Memorial Day weekend, I committed to writing my book. Today, I'm proud to say, it is finished.
The first full draft of my memoir is complete. A full manuscript - around 43,000 words - now sits in the Documents folder on my laptop (and is backed up in the Cloud).
How does it feel?
I'm sure there's many more emotions I can't yet put to words, but let's just say I'm all over the place.
Finishing Part 3
I actually finished Part 3 a month ago, but I'm just now ready to share and talk about it.
A few weeks after I told you I finished Part 2 of my memoir, I sat down and cranked out Part 3. The fire was lit and the final lap was upon me.
I've often heard writing a book is like carrying a baby. I've never done that, but the analogy seemed to apply.
As I became engulfed in writing part 3, I felt heavy as I returned to write about some of the hardest memories of my life.
The chemo chair. Being told I'd lose my hair. Facing the loss of fertility. Colon surgery.
Truth be told, writing about the memories proved to be harder than I expected. I've told my story a lot over the years, but never with the vivid, emotional detail that writing a book demanded.
As I'd dive into the details of my past, the weight got heavier. Toward the final chapters, I wanted nothing more than to get the story out and stop writing. The words I carried in my heart needed to come out and get onto the page.
They got heavier the closer I got to the end.
In the evenings, I'd write. On the weekends, I'd write.
On the last weekend in April, I locked myself in a room and wrote throughout the night on Friday into Saturday afternoon until I finally reached the end.
And when I did - I cried.
Emotional floodgates 18 years later
I'm not sure what I expected to experience when I reached the end of writing my book, but I certainly didn't expect what happened.
I sat down my computer, put my face into my hands, and cried.
They were tears of joy, I did it. Tears of pain, holy cow - I went through all of that!? Seeing beauty come from ashes brought a range of emotions.
Ultimately, I felt tears of rejoice as I saw God's been with me all along.
I didn't expect the floodgate of emotions to spring open, but it did, and it felt really good.
Emotions that "should" have hit 18 years prior finally came when I stepped outside of my story and looked at it on a computer screen.
I felt like a walking miracle.
Book proposal and first responses
After I finished the last chapter, I went back to reread and edit the whole manuscript.
Then, I put together a book proposal.
Eager to move forward, I sent it to a few author friends and an agent who I hoped would still be interested in working with me after our first meeting last fall.
Unfortunately, he wasn't.
Writer's rejection, although common and to be expected, hit me hard.
I wish I could say it didn't discourage and disappoint me as much as it did, but I'd be lying. It really sucked.
After that, I decided to let the book rest. Meanwhile, my friends gave me good feedback on the proposal.
My mom read it and gave two thumbs up. (I know that's what moms do, but I needed her blessing and the extra wind in my sails.)
I made some updates to the proposal and submitted it to a website for Christian manuscripts.
And now, I'm letting it rest again and giving it to the Lord.
Where things go from here are in His hands, and I'll follow His leading.
Fighting off insecurity
As I sit in this place where my book is written, but there's no clear path or plan for publishing in sight, I'm finding it's a really hard spot.
It's not unique to writers, it's a common place many of us land when we've been obedient but the road leads to: stop, sit here and wait.
It's a breeding ground for doubt and lies telling me I shouldn't have written this book and wasted my time.
It's a trap and invitation for thoughts telling me I'm an unpublished, first-time author without a massive following - God surely can't use me.
I know He can, and He will, but some days it's hard to remember.
But I'm pressing through and won't give up because deep inside of me I know I'm still alive for a reason, and this book is part of that.
I share vulnerably because these doubts and lies are very real, and if you ever write a book - expect them.
I also share because rarely is following a calling super glamorous.
And this is an icky phase.
But it's an important phase I don't want to skip over. Every leg of this path has brought refinement and insight.
I'll continue to keep you updated on where things go from here.
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