Ya’ll–I am in it. The final-est of the final stages of self-book publishing. In fact, the publishing part is actually done; I’m just in one of my very last i dots. I’ve already crossed my t’s, and now I’m i dotting….
And I never ever thought I was going to get here. I mean, I believed I would get here–but my thoughts were always fighting with my belief.
But now, I can see how real it has become. And I am so excited to share it with you! I am also EXTREMELY grateful for your support of me as I charted completely new territory–and also for your patience with me as I’ve had several delays I haven’t expected. Let’s just say, I’m learning quite a bit in this process–and I am hating it and loving it all at the same time! I’m so grateful for those of you who have come along for the ride with me because it’s been SO nice to have the comradery.
With that, I know several others out there who want to write a book (or do something else), and so I thought along with my “marriage and parenting blogs” that I’d add another one on writing a book. I often find it quite boring to go with the “guidelines”, so yet again, I have taken the “long” way and wanted to share for any of you that may want a I-learned-the-hard-way roadmap to publishing your own book.
1. If you decide to write a book, my first point of advice is this: TELL EVERYONE. And I mean tell everyone– before you finish, tell them while you are writing, tell them when you’re feeling the euphoric writer’s high, tell them! Because there will be days when you are terrified of what you just wrote and also days where you will be discouraged beyond belief, and you will need these people to be there to ask you how it’s going. You will need these people to remind you what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you tell no one, it is so much easier to quit. Especially if you are self-publishing, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS like a child who just learned how to ride her bike. I promise you, you will be glad you did! Don’t keep it a secret because it feels easier to “play it cool”. It is scary writing a first book, and the thing is, if you aren’t scared to write (I don’t believe you)….and second, I wonder if your book will probably be all that interesting and impacting. Writing is a key to the soul, and it is the vulnerability in it that makes it so beautiful!
2. Don’t let anyone read your book until you are ready for them to make comments. And if you aren’t ready for comments, if you just want someone to “be with” you, let them know that ahead of time if you choose to share it. I selected several friends who I unleashed my rough draft onto….and I said at the beginning, “Would you read this? I don’t need feedback necessarily, I just want someone to read me.” Even though these people were very close to me, it was still scary–but I thankfully chose wisely! They did exactly what I needed; they-read-me. They were with me. And after I grew from my first step of bravery, I was able to look at my draft again and let go a bit. From there, I could start letting other selective people in to see if I should add anything. Let me be clear though; I was very select in my invitations! Because, again, at rough draft stage, it is very vulnerable–so you’ll want to choose the people who know you best or who you trust most. With each person you share with, your confidence will start to grow and you can then start adding to the list of who can preview it (and perhaps help guide you to make it even better).
3. Go with the flow but also force yourself to write. I am very inspiration-oriented, so most of the time I like to write when I get that “feeling”. The problem with this is, I have small children and a house to take care of. So, I was not often inspired at the moments that were convenient to write. In addition, I didn’t have much time to write either. Evenings are my brain dead hours, so I had to choose to use early mornings and nap times as my writing time. This often meant I had to force myself to sit down to write even if I didn’t feel inspired. Often times, though, all the post-it notes from my inspired times (between diaper changes and making meals) came together quite nicely when I finally had a few minutes to sit down and put all the “random” thoughts together. Even if I felt too tired to write during kid naps, I’d often make myself. And then, I actually felt more energized to continue. My book was written from “30 minutes here” and “45 minutes there”. I don’t know that I ever sat down for a full day to just write. That wasn’t realistic for me in this season, but I chose to keep going in those small moments and in the small steps, because I couldn’t help myself. My book needed to come out!
4. Give yourself days off. It’s so important to have days where you don’t think about the overwhelming “responsibility” of what it’s going to take to finish. The days where you take your brain completely out of the game will be the days that propel you into writing your best chapters. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that overworking doesn’t produce quality. The rest will do you good.
5. Don’t be surprised by delays–especially if it’s your first book. I chose to figure this thing out on my own (I’m crazy and bull-headed) because I really wanted my manuscript to be authentic. I refused to change things that I felt were crucial and meaningful, and I most wanted to be my true self in my writing. I didn’t write to make millions, but I did write to be real. And if I had to delay because I wanted it to be excellent instead of mediocre, I chose to yield to the delay. To be quite honest, I ended up loving these delays (after kicking and screaming)–because I learned more and healed more and gained more ground. When a delay comes, a surprise always comes soon thereafter if you can allow yourself to rest and just let things go. Time always has this way of working things out…..
6. Have so much fun! Soak up the process like a big wet sponge. This has been one of my biggest breakthroughs personally. I have come to LOVE process and to relish in good and in difficult and in unknown. It has been so triumphant to put my heart in writing and to leave something for my children. It has been so freeing and exciting and adventurous, and it has been so fun to see God provide through it all. Though the product is so rewarding, the quiet moments and the thrilling moments in the process are even richer. You go into the experience one way and come out metamorphasized!
All this to say, it’s-almost-time. I will release my printed copy and ebook/audiobook copy at the same time! (Sorry for the delays–I was “planning” to have already released it….but you can just go back to #5). I will announce it on FB, like a child on Christmas, as soon as my last i is dotted. So, I promise you won’t miss it! You will be able to get the links to all copies on my website under Books. I encourage getting both the written and audio–the printed copy is full color, a workbook, and a devotional. The audiobook is my own voice with music and sound added. There’s nothing more powerful than voicing your reality, and I had so much fun doing both!
So, thanks a million for coming along on my journey! I couldn’t have done it without you all!
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