At this current moment, I am thinking. Since I've finished my manuscript, I've done a lot of that. I've thought about the story. It's about a woman, you know, and she is on a journey that she's too young to realize she's embarked upon. All of us grown up women can agree we've started on journeys without realizing it, can't we? For that reason, I have found myself thinking, "I really hope this story does what it's supposed to do" in the hands of those for whom it is written. Hint: That's you!
I've also been thinking about how one positions their story in the world. Especially in a world that feels new or foreign. I'm a doctor. I have had a doctoring mind for over thirty years. I know that world so well. It's difficult at times to see myself outside it, from any other angle, illuminated by any other light. Though I've written for years and years (it started with a 5th-grade letter to a nun at my school. I'll tell that story another time), I've rarely shared anything I've created without the serious prodding of a teacher or parent. Things I've written have been bound in spiral notebook journals with flowers on the cover. Or in leather-bound books that smell good and have a Henry David Thoreau quote on the front. But they've been for, and within, me and my world. Sharing story, as powerful as it is, can be intimidating. Scary. But powerful things typically have a scary side, I suppose. Scary as in adept at making one feel vulnerable.
To me, entering this writing and publishing world feels like visiting a distant aunt's home. You know you should probably try to feel comfortable there. She's family. But you don't really know where to sit or what to do with your feet. Maybe you should take the food she offers. But you're too nervous and too awkward to eat. Besides, you really want an Oreo Blizzard, and you know for sure she doesn't have that in the house. If she turns on the Price is Right or a soap opera, you sit quietly and smile with a nod during commercial breaks.
Others in the writing community have been warm and welcoming. And some even give generic invitations to share links to my book on their social media. But I don't really know them. And they don't really know me. They don't know what to offer me that would make a difference to my process with my story. And I don't know what to take. Is posting on their social media obnoxious? Is it pointless? Is it going to help get my story from me to you?
I'm in the early days. The early days of this process feel a little tentative, if I'm honest. Every single thing feels like it should be familiar. My reality, though, is that most things in this world are very new and undiscovered and even confusing. My book team (especially Robert, my "book shepherd") have taught me more in the past few months than I could have ever imagined I didn't know!
I don't mind it. I like learning. Even when it makes me feel lost or overwhelmed. But I want you to know that I am thinking of you - and how to connect with you - more and more, every day.