The last modification date of the files is mid-August. September and October rolled by before I finally decided to print out what I had for my manuscript in mid-November. I had been writing articles, working my 2 ½ jobs, and traveling to speak. That was my excuse for the delay in doing my first full self-edit of my manuscript. I can’t afford to hand it to a professional editor without taking a look first.
But I didn’t want to look. I was like a person in deep credit card debt who tries to avoid their problem by not opening their bills. If I didn’t see it, it wasn’t there.
So in mid-November, I printed out each of my chapter files from Word, 3-hole punched them, and cleared out a 3” wide binder with old notes from a PR class I took in grad school. I carefully placed each chapter in the binder in order with dividers. This was my new book binder. This is part of the story I would tell when people interviewed me about my finished book.
I placed the binder on my dining room table in plain sight, and headed off to a Toastmasters conference. The first session I attended was about self-publishing. Do you have a book inside of you? YES! But it’s on my table now—it’s almost finished!
I told the presenter that I considered myself an aspiring author because although I had just printed out my book, it wasn’t finished. He begged to differ. He said if I wanted to, I could go to Kinko’s and slap a cover on it, and since the book IS written, I am an author. I mulled it over. Note to self—I’m not finished. I need an editor/book doctor, cover, ISBN…
Two days later, I returned from the conference. The binder was still there, untouched. That following week I opened it and put some notes in it from one of the 30+ writing books I borrowed from the public library. I interviewed renowned authors about THEIR books. And the binder sat. And sat.
I walked by it every day, gazing at it longingly. I’ve got to do that. It’s lying out in plain sight so I will remember.
I invited people over to my house to hang out and spend time with over the holidays. I pointed at my book binder proudly, declaring, “That’s my book over there.” I talked about what was in it, how much I worked on it, the overall message, and how proud I was.
I went to the salon during the week of Christmas, a year after I started the book project. The beautician asked me, “I see everything you’re doing on Facebook and I’m proud of you. How is your book coming along? Let me know when it’s ready so I can get my copy.”
The pressure is on. I know I haven’t done a thing since August. Shoot. Who am I kidding? Am I really even that good? Self- doubt kicks in big time.
I’ve talked about this book to people excitedly, and the idea was clear in my head, but it wasn’t real until I put the manuscript in a prominent place. It was a reminder of what I had to do, but seeing it lying there for 6 weeks did not make me do anything with it.
What did I write? When I start my edits, will I have to totally revamp the whole project? Was the book wack? I was afraid to look. I didn’t want to deal with this part. I like the creative part. The technical stuff? *SIGH*
Well it’s time for me to get down to business. Not because it’s a new year. Not because I’m sick of looking at the binder opened to the first page. Not because people keep asking me how the book is coming along. The time is right because, as I told “my neighbor” in church this morning, I’m ready to see what God’s going to do in my life next. I cannot hold on to what He inspired me to share with girls of today and expect to get blessed in 2010. And I know that it has to start with me.
So I edited chapter one tonight. It felt so good I wanted to keep going, but I stopped myself. But I WILL edit that whole book one time through before Dr. King’s birthday. Really.