Last time on My Journey to Publication, I shared how I began to research for my book and then how plans changed when the twins were born premature.
After taking a few months of my own version of "maternity leave" I knew it was time to put thoughts on paper. Or computer. Whatever. As October 2010 approached, I got all sorts of nervous. I didn't feel ready to write a book. I had barely looked at my research notes that were taken six months ago and I was still processing being a new mom, the twins' prematurity, and the shame I felt from delivering them so early. I was in babyland and had a jumble of daily emotions.
I tried to talk myself out of writing - for now. I told myself that the holidays were right around the corner and it was going to be so busy with two new infants. While that was true, my soul still needed an outlet. A place to be open and document my pain, guilt, frustration, and joy. There were so many gaps in between the NICU blog posts....I wanted to expand on the details of that trial and really tell a comprehensive story about letting go of fears and holding on to the truth.
Still having my Type-A personality, I told myself that organization was not procrastination (even though it was a bit for me at the time). I began to organize the blog posts chronologically and I inserted all of the tags (fear, joy, etc.) into categories in an Excel spreadsheet. Basically, my whole blog had been converted into a spreadsheet or time table by the end of it, color-coded and all. Once I finished that, I knew I had nothing left to do but start writing.
I remember the first words of Chapter One coming to me so beautifully. Soon, my brain began to spit out information that it had hidden for years and my fingers could barely catch up. The first chapter was literally twenty pages long when I finished. Even then, I felt like some of the details still need explanation as I continued on into Chapter Two. As I wrote our NICU experience, I paralleled the story to truths that I had learned growing up. I brought back childhood memories and tender moments shared with Raleigh as we learned about love; even stories of friendships turned sour....the book had my life spilled across the pages.
Soon, I got into a writing rhythm. I think my goal was to finish two chapters a month and to be completely finished by June. Some days, the writing came naturally and other days it was hard as old pains were stirred up. The NICU experience was still fresh and it was difficult sometimes to live life in the present as I wrote about my fears of the girls not surviving. I didn't like writing the hard stuff and re-living the pain, but it was therapeutic in a lot of ways. I think that is why I was SO THANKFUL during the twins' first year of life. I knew I had been given two precious gifts and daily I was reminded of those gifts as I wrote.
All during this time, I was looking at different writing conferences to attend. I desperately wanted to go but I kept stalling. They were so expensive and I didn't know if I was really ready to present my work in public. I hadn't even told my parents about my little project so how did I think I would be brave enough to tell a perfect stranger? Around April, I found She Speaks. It looked perfect - speaking, writing, critique groups, meetings with real editors and literary agents (who are these people?) - it had it all. Problem was, it was booked solid. I was sad that I missed the deadline so I put my name on the waiting list.
Next time, I'll share what happens when She Speaks made room for me to attend my very first writing conference. It gets a little crazy!!!!
Till next time, let your light shine!
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