Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ladies And Gentlemen, I Have Written A Book


I finished my first book last night. It took three years and three drafts to reach this point. I earned a Master's Degree in less time. I wore braces for even less. In fact, I spent fewer days as a middle school student. That puts things in perspective. Those were some pretty long days.

This last draft was the first I completed ahead of schedule. It is now in the hands, or soon will be, of my first tier of readers. I'm relaxing until their feedback arrives.

The feeling of extra time has me pretty buzzed. When I leave work today, I'm not rushing to a bookstore or coffee shop, and that's a liberating feeling. I'm taking my time at dinner and avoiding indigestion. I hardly remember what proper digestion feels like. I hope my body has the sensation stored in some archive.

I'm looking forward to catching up on blogs, tackling my TBR list, and checking in with friends. Some days at the pool are in order. And I'll be taking my time in the gym. No more rushing could mean no more neck injuries. We will see.

I want to thank everyone who stuck around for this journey. Your support keeps me motivated and holds me accountable. Without you, I would have an easier time walking away without a finished product. I don't like letting people down, and I don't like setting a bad example. I look forward to the day I can share my work with you.

Thanks to my good friend Josh Harris for writing and recording his song FIND MY WAY. I looped it over 100 times while revising the last chapter. It locked me in the zone.

In other news, how did I just learn THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER was made into a movie? Who wants to join me on September 21? 

And how am I feeling about everything? I think this sums it up:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thoughts. And Then Some.

I didn't get along with yesterday. I'm not sure what my problem was, but my mood was something to be desired. Even more than usual.

I'm rather busy this week. A lot going on and a lot of responsibility. Packed schedules aggravate my anxiety, as do upcoming events involving large crowds and the need to socialize with humans. Since I'm in a friend's wedding this weekend, I don't foresee my mood changing prior to Sunday morning.

Draft three is coming together. I met my goal for May and got through the first twelve chapters. June will be more challenging; I have more on the calendar and less blocks of free-time. But I'm determined to reach my benchmarks, and I'm determined to meet my deadline. It's possible that a woman gave birth four times since I started this book. Four separate times, to be clear.

I saw my family this weekend. Twenty of us gathered in Brooklyn to honor my grandfather's life. I saw a lot of them in July, when we celebrated my grandfather turning 100. But others I hadn't seen in fifteen years. The afternoon was enjoyable despite sad circumstances.

This morning I felt hungover - not in the way one normally feels hungover, but in the way one wakes up sedated by the mood of yesterday. I enjoy the members of my family - both immediate and extended. And though I don't see the extended members often, I value our time together - which is usually around long tables, listening to the elders share stories of the past. In a fantasy world, I would go back in time and spend a week with them growing up - a time when an entire extended family lived on one block. A time when you walked upstairs to see your aunt and uncle, or across the street to see your grandparents. A time when Sundays were for family feasts, and running away meant never leaving your street.

My family inspires me. They were the first to model hard work and sacrifice. They were also the first to encourage me to dream. Twenty-eight years later, they still want me dreaming.

This get together refilled my leaking motivation. Writing was starting to feel like a chore; I was losing my sense of purpose and what I hoped to accomplish. My fear of failure became deafening - I know nothing is guaranteed, and that finishing this manuscript will bring me face-to-face with many, many rejections. But that can't be my focus. It's toxic to the creative process.

Sunday gave me a good kick in the stamina. I was surrounded by people taught to take risks. People who understand focus and commitment. People willing to take chances when necessary. And people who modeled these behaviors for me. They grew up rooting for each other. Now, they root for me.