It wasn’t until I was halfway through writing the first draft of the book I plan to publish, when its title, Little Red Wagon, magically appeared. A metaphor for holding childhood dreams and aspirations, its meaning has kept me on track during my memoir writing adventure, one marked with occasional obstacles.
Prior to even drafting an outline, I’d convinced myself that I’d pen a book (I’d seen psychic visions that validated that desire as well). Slowly, I shared my goal with a few, including a stranger sitting next to me on a New York-to-D.C. train. Once I learned he was in the publishing business, I blurted, “Oh, really? I’m writing a book,” as if all I had to do was yank it out of my ass. Round One of many rounds of work would soon begin.
First of all, I had to get everything out of my system and onto the pages. Reliving my life’s most challenging moments was no easy task, but the catharsis was essential to the book. After all, everything’s connected: our past, present and future. Unlocking those personal hurdles also empowered me to embrace my psychic abilities and to become more comfortable with going very public with them. So, the book tells two interwoven stories: confronting major mid-life dilemmas and the unexpected, bizarre set of spiritual circumstances that followed. My life would never be the same.
You’d think writing the manuscript would be enough to get it on shelves. Wrong! As I learned four and a half years ago at the Hawaii Writers Conference, a confab for the literary industry, a would-be author also has to have marketing credentials. Or, as one tough-as-nails agent grilled me, “So, why would I even think about buying a book written by you? You don’t have a name yet!” After I picked up my proposal off the table and my ego from the floor, her remark registered with me. What good could the book do if no one bought it? Plain and simple. I could have left Hawaii thinking that getting a book published was insurmountable, but the experience inspired me to try harder. Thus, began another chapter in the adventure: blogging, networking, workshops, etc.
Another step: submitting book proposals to literary agents and publishers. Basically, it’s selling your idea. I’ve sent dozens out and have received dozens of declines. Again, more moments where I could’ve tucked and ran. Instead, taking those gut punches just made me want to work more on the book (and my abs!).
Throughout the journey, there’s the editing process. And, more editing. And, even more. While a detailed job, I know each time I sit down to revisit the manuscript, the book gets better. And, that I’ll be well prepared for when it’s eventually published in the best possible way.
I use my book ambition as an example for my clients, blog readers and anyone with goals. Each of us has our own Little Red Wagon. If it’s important to you, then don’t let go of the handle and hold on for the journey!
Love and light,