writing a book: part two
It’s been a couple months since I wrote part one of this series. And although you likely wouldn’t know it from anywhere outside of my head, I’ve been riding a very bumpy roller coaster.
It turns out writing (and my perception of “how it’s going”) have a pretty big impact on my inner thought life. When the words are flowing and / or I have a big idea break through, it feels like all is right in the world and I have a lot of energy to tackle my regular non-writing life. And, basically, the opposite of this situation is also true.
This surprised me. In general, I am fairly impervious to - well, most everything. Healthy or not, I can usually set aside my concerns and feelings fairly easily, get on with life, and just come back to them at a more convenient time. (Yep, I’m a 5 on the Enneagram.) But this writing gig seems to get to me. This is new for me and I don’t particularly like it , but I think it is probably a healthier way to go through life than my usual.
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My first book writing goal was to have a rough draft of 50,000 words. My plan was to write five days per week (even if it was just a short 15 or 30 minute burst) starting at the end of December and I hoped to reach my word count by the end of March.
AND I DID IT!
As of February 15th, I was hovering right around 18,000 words - a number that had somehow remained static for almost six weeks. I would write and then delete and then add a new section and then decide a previous section no longer fit and on and on. Despite a lot of writing, my word count wasn’t adding up.
I finally decided that I needed to release some (okay a lot!) of my expectations to make it “good” on the first round and just get on with it. I had to drastically alter my idea of what a first draft would look like. Honestly, it feels weird to even call it a draft, because it feels like more of a brain dump than any sort of cohesive story.
But guess what. It worked.
I kept a rather obsessive spreadsheet of chapter word counts and a running total. And on March 18th, I hit my goal.
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After several outline revisions, I ended up with 14 themes / chapters.
My next job will be to go through each document and pull all of the ideas into coherent paragraphs, add some illustrative stories and work on the flow.
I have no idea how long this will take, but I can say that I am quite excited about this step. I have already started working on chapters one and two and - wow! - this part is fun.
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It’s a book about motherhood and the lessons I’ve learned in the time I’ve been a mom - lessons of letting go of and allowing myself to grieve for my former self, lessons of surrendering and sacrifice and love, lessons of learning who I am as a mom and finding ways to honor my own needs through the days when life feels overwhelmingly filled with the needs of kids.
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I hope to, in one way or another, get my final product published.
But for now, my bigger hope is to complete a manuscript that I can feel proud to put my name on. I want to see this mess of thoughts, feelings and words be transformed into a final product that is readable and relatable and helpful to other mamas.
In the time between now and whenever “part three” of this book writing series is written, you can trust that I am enjoying the challenge and working my little heart out.