Back in May I wrote a post on this blog called “Send.”
It was about making a simple inquiry to a potential publisher asking if they were accepting manuscript submissions. Despite the fact that I had written a book of poetry in April, I had been sitting on it, procrastinating about taking the next step and actually doing something with it. It takes courage to put yourself out there, fear and doubt lending their opinions all too easily, trust in your own ability requiring a leap of faith.
But I finally pressed send on the email that day, received an encouraging response- yes we are taking submissions, please submit!- and have been working feverishly for the last 6 weeks on getting everything together. A process that grew me exponentially, teaching me what I thought was a nearly finished product still had a lot of room for expansion.
I felt like a craftsman, day after day hunched over my lap top of a work bench, changing, editing, polishing, deleting. Patiently refining again and again and again until I finally got to a place where I felt I could take things no further. 126 pages of my best work, the highest quality I have to offer on this particular script.
And somewhere in the middle of all that, my imagination decided that illustrations were needed, which is why my living room has looked like an art studio blew up in it for the past few weeks. Colored pencils, water colors, chalk pastels. Papers, scribbles, paint brushes. A stack of drawings that gradually grew to 19, I cried on Monday night when I finished the very last one, then promptly woke up Tuesday morning with just one last idea I quickly whipped out, bringing the total to 20.
Tuesday night, several exhaustive hours scanning and photo shopping and having a crash course education on the challenges of CMYK color mode and the joys of DropBox. Wednesday morning, a final edit, one last little word change to a haiku that had been nagging at the back of my mind. Then I clicked the button on the email I had carefully prepared, took a big breath and sat back.
I don’t know where things go from here, what I know is the immense sense of efficacy I have that I got things this far.
What I know is that I’m finally writing books, this first one being the stepping stone I needed to begin a second book on loss with a third on self-love waiting in the wings, instead of sitting around talking about writing books someday. What I know is I am finally illustrating instead of wondering if I could use my art for illustrations someday. What I know is I’m finally taking steps to publish instead of contemplating publishing someday.
What I know is I managed to turn someday into today and that feeling is irreplaceable.
Like I found the courage to trust and leap, then found the leap had always been my friend. Found myself flying high. Superhero cape waving cheerfully in the breeze.