It’s not perfect, but there is no such thing in the book world. What it is, my friends, is finished. For decades, I’ve wanted to quote Yul Brynner in the Ten Commandments in regards to my book. Now I can.
This project began as a novel. Fear prevented me from telling the real story and God forbid, someone would associate me with mental illness. Three years ago, I switched to memoir. The days of trying to fictionalize and twist my tale into a pretzel for the sole purpose of hiding from the truth are over.
I set a goal for myself, to be finished by the end of February. After writing at least half a million words, I’ve chosen less than 70,000 to comprise my memoir, The Second. It’s a substantially rewritten fifth draft. I wrote almost every day for over a year. My efforts for the past years were fits and spurts without a clear focus.
It seemed like a big deal when I sent the fourth draft to an editor over Labor Day weekend, 2019. When she thanked me for letting her read it and wished me luck, I was crushed. Revision was a lot of work, especially when you have to practically start over. I tried to check my ego at the door, dig deeper and slash what no longer served the story.
I’m no longer working with that editor, and that’s okay. I took the advice of Mel Robbins, (life coach, author and motivational speaker) and realized I had to give up the quest for the perfect book. It’s nothing but a hamster wheel of nit picking, editing and tweaking.
Now what I’ve got are a couple of copies I’ve had printed and sent to a group of Beta Readers. Picking up the box of manuscripts from the printer was a thrill. As I drove the addressed envelopes to the post office to be mailed, I actually braced the stack with my arm across the seat to prevent them from falling. It reminded me of my mom keeping her children safe before car seats.
I really tried to savor the moment and be in the present. It’s finally going to happen. The time has come to give up protecting this story and let go. I’m ready.