If I could do it all over again, how would I arrange my steps? With what I know now, and if I could clone myself to lead me through this endeavor, how would I’ve gone about it?
I know I can’t clone myself. I wouldn’t if I could. Who wants two of these walking around? One crazy is enough. But for educational sake, I learned things throughout these seven years — things that could have saved me time and stress. Even money. Of course, the book itself has morphed into so many shapes and sizes, and that pretty much coincided with my personal growth as a person going through weekly therapy.
2010 was not too long after my mom died, which was not long after my dad died. I was wearing very different spectacles then. And shortly thereafter, I made a lot of leeway in therapy about my early life. Stuff I didn’t want to face.
I really didn’t want to look at my parents in a bad light. However, once they were gone, I didn’t have to be so careful or fearful or worried about their thoughts or reactions, which made it much easier to see clearly. Slowly, through the process of writing and re-writing the book, I was able to see things through my own unapologetic filters without feeling ashamed. At least in some great fleeting moments.
To make a long story semi-shorter, the book went through a lot of changes in terms of freeing myself of guilt. And I suppose shame too. All that protecting of people. I did my best to protect people’s feelings, but when it started to get in the way of telling my damn story, I just had to plow through.
Once I started to get near the finish line, I started to re-think why I wrote the book in the very first place and had to re-examine if it was something I wanted to maybe publish. I went back and forth about it. Even when I handed it off to my editor, which was an expense, I wasn’t sure I’d publish it. I went through the motions, but I really wasn’t sure.
After I got a few beta readers, I started to lean toward publishing it, but in the back of my mind, I wanted to change some things too. I did begin shopping it, for about two weeks. And then I stopped. I began to re-write it again. I re-wrote the whole thing — twice!
I’m crazy, I know. But I felt I had done everything out of order. What I should have done was:
Sent out pieces of the story to people I respected and got feedback while I was writing the book from the beginning. Once I was done, I should have picked out beta readers and noted their comments. Then I should have taken that month off while thinking about any changes. Then I should have come back, kept writing until I was happy with it. Then hire a copy editor.
There are different types of editors. I didn’t know that then. I know it now. I was also (and still am) so hung up on word count, it isn’t funny. It has dictated the entire story, and that’s really stupid. It’s a big book. Oh well. If I left everything in, you’d poop your pants! I almost cut it in half.
The moral of the story is, you don’t have to take seven years (neither did I — I took at least one year off with the Exodus Project) and you don’t have to be apologetic for YOUR truth. Everybody remembers things differently, so you can’t worry about other people’s filters, just your own. And you can learn from other people not to make as many mistakes if they share how the process went for them. 🙂