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.

woman laughing

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?