time of reckoning

I’m still in a bit of awe that I finished writing the first draft of my novel. It’s the most natural thing I’ve ever done but it also feels like it happened to someone else. I appreciate the warm wishes as I reached that milestone. I’m truly humbled by the positive response and support. And it’s cute when people ask, “when’s it coming out?” because you see, writing the book wasn’t the hard part. I know I can write. (I already wrote the outline and ending to my second book.) But there are many grueling steps to before you’ll find my debut novel gracing bookstore shelves.

The last you heard, I shipped my baby to a professional manuscript consultant to edit. Initially, she told me that she wouldn’t be able to get to it for a week because she was finishing up another project. That was fine with me. I needed some time away from my story and characters.  So imagine my surprise when I received her complete edits last Friday, the day she was scheduled to start reading.

“That was fast,” I wrote her via email. “I’m going to take that as a good sign.”

“It is a good sign!” she replied. “I have a problem manuscript to look at… it needs so much work…Your novel is really strong.” In fact, she couldn’t put it down.

I’ve been on cloud nine over her summary of what she loved: the writing (“it reads real”), my main character (“luminous… so alive”) and the ending (“moving”).  As for what needs work? Well, I haven’t gotten there yet.  There was no way I could read her comments last weekend given the kids’ schedule. Then I was traveling early this week. Yesterday I had my 2014 turn at Warriors. I haven’t had but an hour or maybe two in between gigs, meetings, obligations all week. I’m not avoiding the task at hand. I swear. I look forward to perfecting my manuscript. I need to set a new deadline. But really, I need the luxury of an uninterrupted day to get started.

Lucky for me, the universe is going to deliver. Snow is in the forecast tonight. Enough snow for delays and cancelations tomorrow. With any luck, I’ll be home all day with my manuscript. While everyone in the DC Metro area is rolling their eyes at winter overstaying its welcome, I relish it.

Just please let the power stay on. I have a manscript to polish.

parting is such sweet sorrow

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, drink, sleep or throw up. Maybe I will just go to yoga.

I’m elated, but exhausted. My confidence is high, but I have moments of self-doubt. My book is done. At least stage one. At 91,837 words, it’s probably too long for a debut novel. It has a working title. Emailing it to my editor (you know I wanted to say “my editor”) approximately 22 minutes ago was harder than sending my kids off to school for the first time.

I set an initial goal to finish writing by March 31st, but as the words came freely, I upped that self-imposed deadline to COB today. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t editing/writing up until the end. In the moments before sending off my manuscript, I was seeing double. I was probably doing more harm than good. Pencils down. Step away from the computer, Chelsea.

A little piece of me is gone. I already miss my baby, though I’m glad it’s temporarily out of my hands. I know it will be a better story after undergoing a professional edit. I can’t wait to be reunited with my characters and their plot lines to rewrite, rethink, restructure.

If I’ve canceled lunch/drink plans with you, cried on your shoulder, sent you panicky texts/emails, or just generally been unexplainably weepy, absent-minded, spacey, anti-social, insecure and/or self-absorbed, I’m sorry. I owe you one.

The hard work lies ahead. (Trying to find an agent sounds worse than on-line dating.) This journey is far from over. But thank you all who have helped me get this far. You know who you are.