This post has been updated...
I talked about it a lot over the past couple of years but I did more talking than actual writing. But today, after pushing hard over the past six weeks, I submitted a manuscript to publisher advertising a contest to its cadre of bloggers.
I've been blogging, on and off, for Thomas Nelson's BookLook Bloggers initiative for a few years. This started in 2008 when Michael Hyatt was still CEO of the publishing house. It was a marketing strategy to increase online visibility for their books in a time when shelf space in brick-and-mortar book sellers began to trend downward.
At the end of October, I received an email about a contest a subsidiary publisher of Thomas Nelson was having and was actually halfway through. The contest began in September and ends the last day of November. I jumped in pretty late. But I had already started and stopped working on a book for the past few years so I had a bunch of stuff written, it just didn't make sense as a book yet. So since the last few weeks since the end of October, I've been working at night after Allie is in bed and early mornings before anyone is up to hammer out a manuscript to enter into the contest to get published. Winners will be announced in January. Fingers crossed.
Here's an update on my manuscript. First, I didn't win the contest, or even place. Here's a post about who did win.
The bottom line is writing a book is hard work. Really hard work. What I've discovered through this process is that this project is only about halfway there. Here's how I learned that: I've had trusted friends who know how to write take a hard look at my book and tell me what they really think.
Have you ever watched American Idol auditions? It's the most brutal part of the season. It's painful to watch. When I watch people get up and make absolute fools of themselves, I think these people have NO friends! It's got to be true. These early auditions are SO bad, it's the only conclusion you can come to.
When it comes to my writing, I don't want the same thing to be said about me. I want to be edited. I want people to tell me the truth. I want it to take a long time if the project isn't finished. I was disappointed at first, but when trusted friends got their hands on what I wrote and began to tell me things like, "I was confused about the timeline here," or "you need to tell more of this person's story," or "I loved it when you did this," I soaked it all in like a sponge and took notes.
The next thing I have to do is get serious and get back to work. The story definitely isn't ready to be written yet. There's more that still needs to happen. Stay tuned.