My First Book! Well, Okay, Not yet…

manuscript, pages, writing

The first draft of my manuscript is complete.  (And, yes, calling it a manuscript does sound weird.  And technically, anyway, is it really a manuscript since I didn’t write it out by hand – manual + script?  But, I digress…)  I’m grateful to have been able to keep the first part of my 2018 Resolution!

Over the last 59 days, a wide spectrum of thoughts about my first book, and the whole process of writing it, have tumbled through my mind, causing me to feel differently about it on different days.  So far, these have been my most frequent opinions/feelings (in no particular order): ridiculous… brilliant… impossible… lame… okay….

Ridiculous

Yes, I feel a little absurd every time that I talk about writing a book.  It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence.  I say something like, “manuscript” out loud and I feel so very pretentious.  I don’t know exactly why.

Plenty of people are writing books, not just the experts, the worldly, the highly educated, or the successful.  In my community here, in the world of blogging, book writing is actually pretty normal.  At least, the attempt is.  And, though other authors may be more experienced, educated, sophisticated, or accomplished than I am, they all started somewhere.  This is where I’m starting – a stranger in a foreign land, feeling ridiculous for thinking that I belong.  (And that’s probably normal, too.)

Brilliant

Then, there’s the other extreme.  I confess, there have been moments when I have felt so totally jazzed about the book that I have envisioned extensive critical acclaim and oodles of positive hype.  After reading my book, I imagine people will be weeping, hugging themselves with delight, dramatically changing their lives, and telling everyone.

Vainglory and pride are the overriding impetuses behind these thoughts of mine, not any real assessment of my book’s power or worth.  And, no, my dear reader, this is not where you write in the comments that you are sure that my book will be brilliant!  Please don’t do that.  Flattery is not the kind of encouragement that I want or need.  It always makes me suspicious, as I can’t stand pretty lies.  Best to be realistic (reality is not so bad) and try not to have overly high expectations.  Besides, such expectations would really put a lot of pressure on me!  And I’m a novice.

Impossible

Overwhelming.  Way too much work.  In other words, “Aargh, I can’t do this.”  Time and time again, my mind drops in a heavy sigh and my whole body sags with the weight of this undertaking.  Attending a webinar on the do’s and don’ts of independent publishing didn’t help very much with this.  As if the concept developing, writing, editing, editing (yes, I meant to write that twice) refocusing of concept, rewriting, and re-editing weren’t enough, there will also be networking, marketing, formatting, book cover design, technical and legal gobbledygook, more marketing, more networking….  Oh, heavy, heavy sigh.  Doubts creep into my mind and I seriously want to give up.

I knew before I even began that this would happen.  I knew that I would want to abandon the project, giving it up as not worthwhile or not even feasible.  And that, my dear reader, is precisely why I told you that I would be writing this book.  Because the only way to make those aforementioned feelings of being ridiculous go away is to finish what I set out to accomplish, to complete what I said I would do.  Asking you to hold me to my goal (thank you!) is a way of allowing my sense of pride to work for me in this.  If God allows me the time and strength to publish this book and I don’t – then, I will be a fool.  I don’t want that.  And I will have broken a promise that I made to others.  To be a person of honor, a person of one’s word, is a brave, noble, and highly admirable thing in my mind and heart.  I want to be that person.  So, I will not give up.  I keep pushing on…

Notebooks, storage, keepsakes, writing, journals, mess

Kind of what the files for my little book would look like, if they were in a nondigital form

Lame

I keep pushing on, even when I think that the book is rather lame.  And I think that often.  The concept isn’t well defined enough, the reflections aren’t relevant enough, the flow doesn’t flow enough, the order is disordered, it has too many reflections, it’s missing something, the tone is too preachy, the tone is too loose, the wording isn’t good enough, the theme isn’t repeated enough, the theme is too often repeated – and on, and on….

None of these thoughts make me think that the book is garbage and, therefore, not worth continuing to publication.  (A lot of garbage gets published, after all.)  But, I know that it can always be better – and I doubt that I’ll ever get it to be the best that it can be.  The book may become something that could’ve been really good, but fell sadly short and disappointingly flat.  I’m afraid that it will end up just being lame.  (Can you tell that I’m a child of the eighties?  Don’t worry, I’ve been told that I can use the term “lame” without being politically incorrect because I am, myself, crippled.  I mean, handicapped.  Disabled.  Oh, how to write this…?)

Okay

In the end, though, my overriding opinion of this book that I’m writing, my first book, a book of reflections on God Incarnate and the sacred wonder of being human, is that it’s going to be okay.  Not terribly lame, not terribly brilliant, but okay.  In other words, not terrible.  And I’m okay with that.  It’s taken some work, so far, and it will take much more work to get it done, but, if I plod along without giving up, if I prayerfully write from my heart as clearly as I can, if I avoid laziness and wastes of time, if I follow the sound advice of others while pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, then I will get there.  “There” being the publication of my first book.

Hang tight, my dear reader, and keep on keeping me honest!  We’re getting there, God willing…

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo 1 by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Photo 2 by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

11 thoughts on “My First Book! Well, Okay, Not yet…

  1. Such a thoughtful reflection on what this whole process has been so for for you! Keep on keeping on! Do you need a reader for your maniscript?

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  2. Reading this meant a lot to me, Christina. Really really.

    You won’t like it if I say you are a treasure, so I’ll stick to being appreciative of your work–all of it. Even if the “manuscript” were to disappear, what you have written already and posted here has been so enriching. I feel blessed to have found you. Wherever in fact you are, you are everywhere available to us because of this mysterious medium.

    If you read Sister Vassa’s blog today (3/1),* you can appreciate how significant it is that you said “I’m here,” when the Spirit asked who would write down their stories. (This may seem to you not to have happened, but we know otherwise.) And the best I can say to you right now us “I’m here also ,” waiting to read more. Keep writing! It’s a sacred response.

    * coffeewithsistervassa@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are a blessing to me, Albert! Thank you for your continued reading and reflecting with me. You and everyone who has inspired and/or encouraged me here are treasures of incalculable worth. God is good!
      You know… “Here I Am” is a section heading in the book. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all allowed ourselves to be present to God and open to the gifts and guidance that He wishes to give us? I pray that I may be so present and open, not letting fear (or laziness) shut me up.
      Pax Christi

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  3. Hello Christina and congrats my dear friend. Wow oh wow greeat accomplishment. I here you about manuscript, but you are doing it for the glory of God not for your glory so this work needs to be done. Right sister marie he he he ha ha … sorry I am keeping this short. but till we talk again. Oh I love Sister Vassa’s blog she is awesome. we are friends on twitter. Well, twitter girl here … oh I ditto Albert. blessings cannot wait to read that book it is always a work in progress. Best to let it go for a bit rest and give it to God. He will refresh it and go on to next draft. Blessings

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  4. Great job, Christina! I’m so impressed that you have stuck with it and met your goal. That discipline in and of itself is a valuable witness.

    It is a risky thing to publicly announce one’s plans to write – sometimes it almost seems a setup for writer’s block. But usually that happens when we have made it too much about ourselves as writers and not enough about God whom we serve. So it is not surprising that you have met your goal – you write for God and He writes through you.

    I have written quite a few things that have been read by only a few people – and this is good. It has been a regular reminder to me of why I write. I write for Him and being humbled helps keep it that way. If God works through me to touch one reader’s life, it is a far greater thing than fame and acclaim. And I may never even know about it… 🙂

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  5. I appreciate these words of yours – thank you! Hopefully, God is my focus, and God alone. By serving Him, I will serve others – but, only by serving Him first. I need to remember that. Your last paragraph especially touched me – how true! And I know for a fact that you, Mary, have touched more than one reader’s life. Thank you for your witness and for reflecting with me! Pax Christi

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  6. What a champion you are! I am soooooooo proud of you. You will have to share your secret with me….how the heck did you pull it off? I suppose it helps if you know what you want to write about lol. By the way, I will take 10 to start!

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    • Thank you, Jacqui! ❤ Having previously written material helped – also, it's not the first draft of a novel, which I imagine would take longer than two months. And, yes, knowing what you want to write about is very important LOL – I didn't figure out what I wanted until about 10 days in! (And I'm still sharpening the concept.) My big moment was realizing that the book can't be about everything. I'm not kidding.

      So, only 10 books to start? 🙂 Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves – there is much reworking and editing to do. The quest is not complete!

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