The moment I have been waiting for is about to arrive. In a few weeks (mid-April) I will be able to hold my first book, Passage of the Stork: Delivering the Soul, in my hands. This afternoon, I finished the final read-through of the layout. As I reread my own words, I started growing excited and proud. I’m looking forward to sharing this book with the world.
What an amazing process this has been! From the moment my writing mentor, Jo Parfitt, said, “If you write it, I will publish it,” to the present moment has been an adventure of discovery and learning. During my training as a counselor, I had to write a short (six pages) autobiography, describing the events and moments that had shaped my life. I realized then what an important tool an autobiography can be for understanding one’s own life and the choices one has made. But, being a storyteller at heart, I also recognized the potential for turning this short exercise into a tale that could inspire others. Jo’s encouragement was exactly what I needed.
However, sitting down and actually writing was quite a challenge. I needed to spin a tale that is worth reading, I needed to find a way of sharing the insights I have gained without sounding pompous, and I desperately wanted to describe, not only the facts, but the interior journey as well.
The feedback from my publisher and editor offered the next learning opportunity. Each round of suggestions and criticism tended to evoke a childish, They just don’t understand what I’m saying! from me. I had to force myself to sit down and think through why, exactly, I was being misunderstood and how I could change the text so they (and the reader) would get my point.
The support of a group of friends, whom I referred to as my sounding-board group, was indispensable. When I got discouraged, they would offer their love and understanding. When I started doubting myself, they would give me their opinions and advice. More than anyone else, they pulled me through the entire operation.
In the next stage, I needed to go out and ask people to write endorsements and a foreword. My shyness emerged; how can I ask busy people whom I admire to read my manuscript and write something nice about it? The response was heartwarming.
Just when I thought I had gotten through the most difficult part of the process, we started working with the designer. I needed to make decisions on cover illustrations and colors, format and font. I entered into a tailspin of indecision. Everyone I turned to for advice had a different opinion and I realized how easily I’m swayed by others. I think I drove the designer, Leigh Cann, crazy. But she was too professional and polite to let on. And, finally, a cover design emerged that felt just right.
Another round of proof-reading taught me that there is always one more mistake to find. Even the final read-through this afternoon uncovered a small mistake.
Shortly after Easter, my book will be a physical object that I can hold in my hands and leaf through. With pride and satisfaction. And deep gratitude to those who have been patient with me and supportive of my efforts. Writing a book is an educational – but deeply rewarding – experience. Thank you!