I worked long and hard hours to get my manuscript ready to send off to my editor. I’m talkin’ twelve hour days on top of my 'need-to-make-money-so-I-can-live-job’. I was waking up at five in the morning and going to bed at eleven at night without barely stopping to eat. And why? Because timing is everything.
Over a year ago I had reached out to an author/editor about potentially working together, perhaps she could help me flush out the structure of my book. She was swamped as she was working on a book of her own but she gave me a list of editors who she thought could help me. Although I was incredibly grateful I didn’t even open the list. Within the time I had sent her the email and the time she replied I realized I wasn’t ready for an editor quiet yet. I needed to make more headway on my own.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, I had hit a roadblock in my book, a big one. I needed an ending. After agonizing over it for months I needed a break. I wanted to work in the realm of my book just not actually on the book itself, so I began to scroll my email for the editor list.
There it was. The list of the editors. Pure gold.
I opened it and began highlighting the ones I thought could be a good fit. There were quite a few and I was starting to get a overwhelmed with how I would choose who to reach out to first. What’s the etiquette anyway?
Then I came across Alexis and began reading her testimonials from people who have worked with her and recommended her. I immediately knew she was the kind of editor that could help me take my book to where it needed to be. She would keep my voice and my intent but would make sure I didn’t have any holes or lulls. I could tell she was a person who truly loved words, who loved stories. Then I noticed WHO wrote one of the testimonials… one of my all time favorite memoirists who wrote one of my top five favorite memoirs.
VALIDATION. I knew she was it. I had to work with her.
My book wasn’t ready. It was a mess of stories that needed a thread to pull it together. It needed an ending. It needed a title. But I wrote her anyway. It felt like some kind of gift from God and I didn’t want to squander it just because I felt unprepared and not good enough. I figured she wouldn’t reply and if she did then it would be ages from now and maybe my book would be in better shape. It was worth a shot either way. I wrote the email.
Three hours went by and there it was... “Dear Jessy, I'd love to hear more about your project…”
My heart leaped out of my chest.
She said she was busy until the end of the year but she was “intrigued by my online self” so she wanted to set a meeting. Omg. YES. YES. YES.
And she wanted to see my manuscript ahead of time. Um. Okay. Sure, I could do that. “Let me rework a couple things,” I told her.
I had TWO WEEKS to finish up my manuscript. Two weeks to make it the best I could make it before someone I highly respected took time out of her busy and full life to read it. Two weeks until someone would read it for the first time ever.
So, I worked as much as I could without having a mental breakdown and I got the thing done. 296 pages. 43 chapters. 85,800 words.
I finished writing the editor-ready draft of my memoir.
Why am I telling you this? Three reasons.
* Pay attention to timing.
When the time is right, you’ll know. Pay attention to the force and flow of your work and emotions and that will help guide you in the right direction. Listen to your intuition because it’s trying to tell you something. Trust it. Trust yourself. A year ago I wasn’t ready and I felt it in my core. Two weeks ago I wasn’t ready either, but it was more on an external level, a level that I could change and work within that flow. The simple fact that she replied within a few hours told me that the time was now and I needed to get going. That gave me the drive and determination to put my head down and work, work, work until my manuscript was as far as I could take it. Sometimes we need a deadline. Sometimes we need a push. Sometimes we need someone in our corner.
* Don’t be scared. Or if you are, do it anyway.
Before I sent my email to Alexis I was drowning in a sea of doubt. I was scared she wouldn’t reply and scared that she WOULD reply. I was scared I was just a first-time memoirist that didn’t deserve her time. I was scared to finish my book. I was scared for her to read it. I’ve been scared and full of doubt through almost this whole process but I did it anyway. Because great things happen when we push through fear and step into our genius. So, whatever you’re scared of… do it anyway. Book the meeting. Send the email. Begin the art. Finish the work.
* What you post online matters
Alexis said she was busy until January of next year. (NEXT YEAR!). But she wrote me anyway. She took on my book anyway. Why? Because of who I am online. I am an intentional person and what I post online reflects that. I am not trying to be anything that I’m not, anything that isn’t in my heart. I want to connect with people on a deep level, on a level that is true for me. And I couldn't do that if I wasn’t being real with myself and real with them. I want to resonate with my people, ya know what I mean? I’m sure you do, too. So, this is just a reminder that you will attract what you put out out in the world so make sure what you put out there is what you want to come back to you.
Okay, I’ll get off my little soapbox now. Thank y’all for supporting me through this process. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done and your encouragement truly means the world to me. If anyone wants to discuss any of these concepts further, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram at @jessytai.
Oh, and having a little chihuahua made a world of difference during my twelve hour writing and revising days. Every time I would get overwhelmed he’d be there to remind me that I am loved and I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you my sweet Memphis. You are my little love.