I’ve had to pinch myself repeatedly over the last few weeks because this last slog of getting the book ready for print (final edit, page layout approval, cover approval, general my-book-is-coming-out chaos) has been incredibly surreal. I know, beginner enthusiasm. But I think you get people who achieve something, enjoy it, but don’t take any time to savour it because they’re already thinking about the next thing they want to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. They don’t need the savouring because they’re not built that way. Me, I’m a contemplator and I need time and space to savour the moment.
Before I had my first child I thought I would go right back to work – feminism in action, right? – and continue to live my life as before. How naive. My personality is not made for this quick moving on. My boy was born and after seeing part of my heart existing outside my body I decided to exercise my feminine, motherly right to abandon the working world for a few years and savour every moment of a fleeting season in my life. It went so fast but I will never regret that.
What does that have to do with having a book published? Well, there is this beautiful quote by poet, Mary Oliver, that goes like this:
Instructions for living:
Tell about it.
I want my life to be like that. I want my writing career to be like that. Inside the process of telling a story and making a book, there are these amazing moments. You learn about yourself and what you’re really capable of. You learn which parts of the story are indispensable, and which are not. You meet people who encourage and inspire you. You find out you are stronger in the face of criticism than you ever thought. You discover that you really do work hard and you’re actually pretty good at telling stories. You meet someone right at the beginning of the road and you can assure them it’s going to be an amazing journey.
We live in this crazy-fast world with things constantly vying for our attention and sometimes we forget to take stock, to think, to appreciate.
But you can stop and take stock:
You pay attention. You allow yourself to be astonished by the moments. You tell people about it – in story, in memoir, in blog posts. Because you’re a writer, and that’s what you do.
I know, beginner enthusiasm. It’s just a book, right? Well, I don’t want my life to be full of self-effacing diminishing. How rubbish would that be? So forgive my nerd girl squeals and my beginner enthusiasm – I’m just savouring every moment.
Keep writing. I know it’s easy for me to say but we don’t [shouldn’t] write to be published; we write to tell stories. So tell some. Write.
P.S. Yes, I know, I promised to show you my glorious cover… soon… keep watching this space…