A mother usually only carries her baby for no longer than nine months.
I carried one for over five years.
Five long years of starts and stops. Reliving so many painful memories that I thought at times I couldn’t do it. At times I almost gave up, and almost pushed the “delete” button.
I wondered what in the world had ever made me think I could carry this baby to term. Because when I’d begun, I had no idea what was involved. No real idea of what it took to do this project
But I persisted. I wrote; scratched out words and paragraphs; added stories; rearranged chapters; changed names; and finally had it finished.
Or so I thought. Little did I know I’d just begun. Or that that first draft was just that. A first draft, and nothing like the now finished product.
Of course after I finished that first draft, I gave it to my husband and daughter to read, and of course they thought it was great! They had very few suggestions, and urged me to go ahead and publish it.
But I knew it wasn’t time; it wasn’t ready to be born yet, because it wasn’t fully formed. It couldn’t yet breathe on its own. It still needed work.
After letting it “rest” for a while, as I’d been told by other writers to do, I picked it back up, and decided it needed some help. So I re-wrote again, moved parts around, added more stories and more advice, and wondered if I was totally crazy to attempt such a project. Who’d want to read it, anyway?
So I finished it. Again. And once again I took advice from other writers and found a friend who volunteered to read it and edit it for me.
THAT was scary! Someone was going to read it that wasn’t a family member. Someone who’d be brutally honest and tell me if it was good or bad, and show me places I needed to change. Oh. My. Gosh! Was I ready to hear the criticism and negative comments I KNEW I’d get?
I held my breath when I got that first email with her comments. I almost didn’t open it, because I KNEW she’d been sitting at her desk, reading it, and shaking her head at how amateurish, how bad it was.
But surprise! She liked it, and even complimented me on many different passages I’d written. Sure, she also told me what I needed to fix, and why, and she was right. On every point.
So I bravely once again went chapter by chapter, rewriting, and reorganizing.
That, I have to tell you, was not easy. At times I felt like I couldn’t do it, but I was encouraged by my husband and other friends, so I did.
And finally, I was done. I ran it through several spell checking programs, grammar and punctuation programs, until I knew I had to stop before I messed things up.
It was time to give birth. I’d talked to several publishers over the last few months, and selected the one I wanted. Now, let me say this; sending off that manuscript, along with the photo I wanted to use for my cover, was difficult. Scary, in fact.
What was I doing????
Then, a few days later, I received an email with the initial draft of the cover. Already. I cannot tell you how I felt seeing the title and then my name on a book cover. I almost cried.
I only hope my mother would have been happy with it. And I so wish she could see it.
Then a few days later I received the actual book layout. Another “wow” moment. It’s one thing to write it, to see the proposed cover, but another to see the manuscript actually laid out for publication. And to suddenly realize “I did this!” This is actually what it’s going to look like.
That was nothing compared to how I felt when I saw the final cover design. Front AND back. The detail was amazing. The front cover background reminded me of my grandmother’s lace tablecloth I use on special occasions. And the back…you’ll have to buy the book to see the detail for yourself.
But the final and most amazing part of this process was getting the author’s proof copy in my hand and actually holding the finished product. A five year journey culminated in a real book…with my name on it as the author, and my picture on the back cover.
All I could say was, “That’s me. It’s really me. I did it. I wrote a book and it’s being published. I’m a real author.”
And now, it’s finally available for purchase. You can buy my book and read my story and enjoy poignant moments from my mother’s life; encouragement for getting through the tough times of dealing with parental aging; and receive inspiration and yes, even hope, in the knowledge that even though we eventually lose our loved ones, we continue on, and we survive.
My book has been born. My five year dream realized. What an awesome gift!
I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to contact me and share your thoughts and stories as well.
Thank you Mom, for being who you were, and for inspiring me to write about the things held deep in my heart.
December 10, 2016