Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Don't Rush Things, Glenda

When I set out to write my first novel, little did I know what a task I was setting out to do. I thought it would be a piece of cake. I envisioned myself sitting at my desk for about six months letting the words flow from my brain to my fingertips and onto the written page. I would be surrounded by resource books, stopping occasionally to flip through, then diligently tapping the words out on the keyboard once more. I told myself I would be done in six months, tops. Yeah! Six months to glory!

Four years later, with a ton of books about writing added to my library, doing nothing more than confusing me any more than I already was, I finished the book....I thought. The date was November 9th, 2013. I celebrated my accomplishment and bragged to my friends on Facebook that with just a little editing, Sweet Tea and Southern Grace should be available on Amazon by Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving came and was gone. The editing process had become a re-writing process. Nail biting became finger nibbling. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Christmas came and was gone. My formatter and editors grew impatient with my constant changes. No one believed me when I said, "Just one more week, please! It will be published, I promise!" I think a few people wondered if I had really written a book. I could see the skepticism in the eyes of my friends and family. They were whispering behind my back. 

But then, somehow it all came together. I remember the day the proof copy arrived at the post office. Betty, the postmistress was as excited as I was and we both danced a little jig. It was a magical day. I rushed through that proof copy like my pants were on fire. Surely there couldn't be any more errors. Surely I could push the magic button and publish it just as it was, and I did. I ordered twenty copies. I had low expectations, but I sold them all in the same day, sloppy signature and all, totally ignorant in the ways of book signing. 

Then, basking in the glow of having my name on the front of a book, just as a kindergartner hands in their first homework assignment, I sat down and leisurely read this wonderful book of mine. Oh, no! There was a word left out! There were punctuation errors where I had gone in and added a little here and there without letting my editors re-read it. The preacher was driving a car instead of his truck. Estelle's pecan pie didn't have any pecans in it! Well, that's an exaggeration, but you get the drift. Shame-faced and embarrassed, I made the corrections and begged the guy I had hired to help me through the process one more time.

I learned the hard way through that lesson in life. You would think I would never make promises I couldn't keep with the second book. You would think I would go for a more realistic publication date, and I did, sorta, kinda. If only the formatter had rushed, I think to myself. If only I hadn't taken a couple of mini-breaks at crunch time - mountains with hubby, family reunion, church retreat. Hmm, that's not a couple - that's three.

My original date, September 28th, is two days past. My digital proof was reviewed and punctuation errors corrected. My hard copy proof that should have arrived today, didn't. It's amazing what a hard copy blatantly shows that a computer screen doesn't, so I'm waiting - I admit, not so patiently waiting, until I get that real book in my hand tomorrow. I know it will come. I know it will come. I know it will come. Just don't rush things, Glenda! Good things come to those who wait.

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