I’m baaaack….and how to write a book in six months

I’m baaaack….and how to write a book in six months

In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging for the past few weeks. I didn’t mean to give it up, it’s just that I had a major project that sucked all the creative juices out of me. It was my book. Yes, I wrote a book!

I can’t tell you how good it felt to fire that baby off to the publisher this weekend. What was supposed to be a year long project turned into a half year sprint. I conceived the idea on a lovely May weekend last year, pitched it the following week and immediately entered into negotiations with the publisher. Then the stall….

I didn’t sign the actual contract until the end of September, which means I didn’t begin writing said book until October. This was tough and looking back, very stupid of me. Most people write their book first, then pitch it to publishers. I like to do things the hard way, so I pitched the idea and then began writing it once I knew it was in the bag.

Still, I pretended I had the contract even when I didn’t. I planned my summer travel on the assumption I would get this deal, that I would eventually write about the destinations I was visiting. And it worked. I worked The Secret. (Cheesy, I know, but I’ve always wanted to write that sentence:)

My thought process behind the book was: this is going to be a slow year. Publishing is in the toilet. To survive, you’ve got to continue to branch out. Take this slack year and put it to use. Except that it wasn’t a slack year. I stopped pitching, but the offers kept coming. Good offers. Offers I couldn’t refuse, so I didn’t. I fit them in. I’ve worked more in these past few months than I ever have in my life. My fingers have been glued to my laptop every weekend, most weeknights and on every car ride when I wasn’t driving, you get the picture. It sucked.

What’s weird is now that the book is off my plate, I haven’t felt like I thought I’d feel. For sure I feel elated, but I actually felt that way a few weeks earlier, when I finished the first draft. I hate first drafts. I write the worst, crappiest dribbles of first drafts ever. Once the nut and bolts of each chapter was done and I began polishing the beast (close to 80,000 words!), it felt OK. It felt like this might not have been the biggest mistake ever.

I imagined that when I sent my book off to my publisher, I’d want to immediately celebrate – that I’d party the entire weekend and wouldn’t want to come near a computer screen. In reality, I screwed around catching up on the administrative tasks I’ve let slide over the past few weeks. Then I went to a spin class. Bizarrely, exercise is what I most wanted to do.

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My daughter accidentally took this picture of me. I was feeling no stress!

I did celebrate the next day. I polished off a bottle of bubbly I’d earmarked for the occasion. (Thanks to the IBMer for the champers!) Then I slept and puttered and let the internet take me wherever I wanted to wander for two hours. I haven’t done that in so long. I had an extremely nonproductive weekend and it felt…wrong.

I’m actually eager to dive back into work. It’s not that I love work so much, it’s that I feel super keen to pound out those articles and projects I promised I’d tackle once my book was done. The treadmill never ends. The inbox never stays at 0. Your basic nature doesn’t change (I’m a doer.) I should’ve anticipated this.

Still, I accomplished something I never thought I had in me. I reached a goal and I managed to maintain a bit of a normal life in the process. I did give up a lot to write this book (mainly time with friends and family), but it also taught me what can be done in a short amount of time. Screwing around doing not much of anything this weekend made me realize I need to have things on my plate. Not necessarily work things, but things to keep me busy and happy.

Have you ever sacrificed something to accomplish a goal? How did you feel when you reached your goal?


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8 thoughts on “I’m baaaack….and how to write a book in six months”

  1. Jennifer Conway

    Jody!!!!!!! Congratulations, I am so proud of you and gobsmacked!! I do not know how you did it. See, being stubborn and tenacious pays off. I cannot wait to see your final product.
    I think making sacrifices to attain goals is a life skill that is good for us to experience. You need to feel uncomfortable in order to achieve great things and at the end you will look back and say, “Wow! I really did that, I don’t know how, it is a bit of blur, but I did it!”
    Congratulations again, my friend! You really are a STAR!

  2. So pumped for you, and I totally agree with your workflow of write the book after the publishing deal- even if it means a time crunch! Excited to celebrate with you!

  3. So proud of you, JR! You are the engineer of an amazing career AND a fantastic life! You worked so singlemindedly and it totally paid off! That stubborn steak sure comes in handy 🙂 good for you!

  4. I’m so excited for you Jody! You’ve been working so hard for a while now, of course you deserve a bottle of bubbly and some ‘fun’ internet time. I can’t wait to read the book. Virtual high fives for all your hustle & heart. 🙂

  5. Well done, really excited for you! Can’t wait to read it. You are an inspiration as always; enjoy the ride;-)

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