I am still in the phase where Nothing is Happening with my book. And by that I mean, we aren’t ready to shop it for a publisher yet because we are still fine-tuning my proposal, which has gone through at least a dozen revisions.
This is not a bad thing. In fact, I would choose the agency all over again, if given the chance to choose the agency all over again. My agent Heidi is incredibly thorough and dedicated to my project. She understands my heart for this book about the family we don’t choose, but whom we choose to love, and the God who still chooses to love us. She understands the dilemmas I have as a writer shaping this book about my own life. She has read the manuscript a bazillion times, not because she’s making a huge fortune by doing so. In fact, she hasn’t yet made a dime off this work. That sort of blows my mind that someone who isn’t yet paid cares so much about the quality of this whole package deal.
Let me tell you about the revisions, though. They pull all my guts out and stuff them in the dryer on a superfast spin cycle. Then they pack them back into my body bag and sew me up with twine. These revisions are a special operation. I usually love editing: other people’s writing and even my own. This task of revising, though, holds some serious gravity. I’ve got a revising complex because these are words for a publisher to read and flirt with and fall into like with and maybe fall in love with, ultimately. For example, this one sentence that serves a sort of preamble to the proposal? I have stared at it for hours. This is not usually my m.o. Inspiration will usually strike me any old time, like while I am brushing my teeth or reading a book or while I am driving my kids home from school and listening to an old Hall & Oates song and then BAM! That’s it! I’ll just say, “I can’t go for that (no can do)!” This one proposal sentence, though, just paralyzes me.
I am sincerely glad to be going through this exercise, though. I am learning to market my writing which is something somewhat new for me. I am also learning to appreciate this process that makes a believer out of oneself in one’s own work. I used to think that all was an automatic residual: that one’s confidence in one’s work, if one had spent considerable time on it, was pretty much assured. So! Utterly! Untrue. I can work forever on my manuscript but if I’m not able to identify the key reasons why it is valuable, and will prove valuable to a readerly audience–then what? Big fat nothing is what.
So I push on, believing that we are closer, believing there is value in the process and in the product.
And just for ol’ time’s sake, here’s my toss into the #ThrowbackThursday ring.
Baby Girl’s first Red Sox game – Sept. 2008