Happy Holidays from Our Home to Yours!
I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, but with the beginning of this season of love and light—and shopping and eating—combined with my daughter home from college, I didn’t post here. I enjoy taking time off for the holidays and spending time with family and friends. For those of you with whom I haven’t connected, please know I am thinking of you and wishing you and your families peace, love, health, and joy. I sent a few cards to respond to people who sent them to us, but didn’t do my usual mailing. But I posted Christmas photos on my
Facebook profile page.
Recently people have been asking how things are going with my forthcoming memoir, Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy. I thought it would be fun to respond through monthly posts in which I talk about where I am in the process and how I’m feeling as I approach the publication of my memoir. My hope is that this will do two things: (1) keep those who are interested informed, and (2) share what I’m learning with those who may be on a similar path, or those for whom this path beckons.
I feel like I’ve been waiting (and ready) for this event for a long time. In some ways six months feels far off, but I sense it’ll be here before I know it.
For the past few weeks I’ve been enjoying weekly calls with my publicist, Joanne McCall. Prior to last Friday’s call I was feeling overwhelmed. I’d sit down in the morning, make a list of everything I hoped to accomplish that day, and get through less than half of it. I’d cram a week’s worth of activities into my daily agenda.
It was a relief when Joanne told me my priority is to write! She wants me to have articles and essays ready to go around my publication date. I love being given permission to make writing a priority. For many years writing was something squeezed in between other responsibilities. Unless I had a deadline it could be hard to show up for my writing. Everything else seemed more important. “Seemed” is the operative word here.
Writing has been foundational to my life for thirty years. It feeds me. It helps me figure out what’s going on beneath the surface. It makes me feel more alive.
I’ve written fifteen articles so far and plan to generate two per month between now and my publication date. I’m also keeping my eyes open for magazines, newspapers, and blogs where I’d like to publish my work. My Facebook writer groups provide insights, tips, and community. My favorites include Women Writers, Women’s Books; Bookworms Anonymous; The Write Life Community; The Beehive: A Book Marketing Community; and The Binders. I also get tips and support from my fellow She Writes Press authors in our private Facebook group.
I’m keeping track of other media outlets where I and/or my work might be featured. This process is reminiscent of my poetry days when I scoured journals in search of literary soul mates, seeking homes for my poems. I read as many journals as I could to see who was publishing work like mine.
I experienced a lot of rejection in those years, which is par for the course. These days, I’m committed to moving forward no matter what, to connect with readers for whom my work resonates. I’m focusing on the opportunities that materialize rather than ones that may not. I’m in this game because this is where my heart has led me, and my intention is to enjoy the process, to have fun.
I’m plucking excerpts from my memoir that can be edited into standalone pieces. Events can take longer to unfold in a book, but in essays—and at public readings—you have to get to the point. You don’t have as much time to unpack your tale.
In addition to the above-mention tasks, I just joined Goodreads and bought Michelle Campbell-Scott’s Goodreads for Authors: How to Promote Your Books with Goodreads. I’m eager to dig into that text and see what I can learn.
Social media has been a bee in my bonnet. I pulled The Tao of Twitter off my bookshelf. I read three-quarters of it a few years ago and still don’t get Twitter. I’ve woefully neglected my account. Ignored is a better word. My relationship with Twitter hasn’t taken off like my relationship with Facebook, which I enjoy, except for my author page, which has been collecting cobwebs. It seems that every time I post there I’m asked to “boost” my post. Is that paid advertising worth it? I’ve been told it can be. I’d love to hear from other authors, especially memoirists, about this.
I had a session with a social media coach who told me to create a social media calendar that included all my posts—images and text—for a month. I know a lot of folks who do this, but I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it. I prefer to post as I go—in real time—though recently I haven’t made it a priority.
Here’s what I have made priorities: writing; meditation (dropping beneath the din of noisy thoughts, centering in peace and quiet, slowing down, stepping off the roller-coaster of my to-to list); nourishing myself with fresh, raw food; shopping at my local farmer’s market; getting rest and a good night’s sleep; dance, yoga, walks, and petting my dog.
With six months to go before my pub date, as I navigate the holiday season, I’m remembering the things that matter most: health, family, friends, taking time to slow down, to listen with what Rumi calls the “ear in my chest,” to let my heart ache when it must, to practice the art of surrender, and to count my blessings. Gratitude is my bloom and balm. I’m grateful my book is making its way into the world.
A special thank you to my FABULOUS 50, a group of people reading Advance Reader Copies of Raw and reviewing it on Goodreads and Amazon. Their feedback has warmed my heart. I’m thrilled to know my book has inspired folks to eat better, start a meditation practice or meditate in a new way, exercise, take better care of themselves, and more.
I’d love to hear from friends (virtual and “real” life) as well as other authors who may be on a similar path. Where are you in your process? Please ask your questions and share your wisdom!