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….
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.)
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.
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…
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…?)
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
I don't call myself a poet — but the beating of my heart is poetry. I don't call myself a theologian — but the light of my mind seeks the Divine. Who I am is a Child of God, a Divine Creation, a person devoted to being fully human, fully alive.