I Never Thought I Would Ever Send A Manuscript To A Publisher
But that changed on Tuesday.
When I came into AA, I honestly thought I was a dead woman. Everything today seems so obvious 3+ years later but when I was “in it” (I fondly call it “$hit City”), I thought that was what my life was going to be and continue to be. I was soooo lucky, no sirens, no hospitals, no jail- but I was all ready dead inside. Inside my head and my heart. I would look at the vodka bottle I had stashed so no one would find it and cry as I poured it. There are plenty of blog entries that describe my journey but in case this post is the only you may read I want to say….
As the clock ticked off and meetings every day, showed one day at a time of sobriety. I was listening desperately to find a way out. A way out of myself. You guys kept sharing your Experience, Strength and Hope. We did lots of laughing and crying too. But we did it together. And every once in a while, something would tweak my heart and I would write it down in a book that I carried in my purse. I called all these little “Pearls of Wisdom” -Gems. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook or Twitter you can see that I post these often. I would write them down in a small book that I carried with me. (I have also mentioned this book before in this blog.)
These expressions, sentences, phrases, etc. cut to the heart of the matter- WHY we go to meetings, WHY the fellowship is so precious. WE all connect. When times got tough, I used that book, I would open it and read something someone had said and I wouldn’t feel so alone. It was like my own “Pocket Meeting.” And it got me through, “One Day At A Time.”
My First Year Anniversary Mason Jar
My First Year, I was smack dab in the middle of Step 9. I got thinking about how I might make myself feel a little better. So I wrote all the “Gems” that were in my book onto a sheet of paper (I think there were about 60 then), cut them into strips (each Gem was on a strip), folded them neatly and put them in a large old fashioned Mason Jar. And off I went to the Homeless Shelter to celebrate my Anniversary. When I was presented my coin, I thanked everyone and passed around the Mason Jar, explaining that they were their words as well as words from any AA Meeting I had been to – I wanted to express how much they all meant to me. How much I have learned I could count on the Fellowship. I suggested they choose a Gem for themselves and put it in their pocket- save it for their own rough patch.
As the days have gone on, I still write down Gems and each Anniversary I share them.
The list was growing considerably.
It was about a year ago, I finally asked my Higher Power to guide me. I was feeling so led to do “Something” I just didn’t know exactly what it was. More meetings, more places, more Gems. The people in AA are so smart, creative and funny. I would put the book away and then feel like I needed to keep adding to it. And, I was writing about them in this blog, but not sure what else there was to do with them. I would feel an overwhelming need to look over the Gems, organize them and even a few times at night was awakened thinking about the whole thing. ( I know it sounds crazy, but it happened and it happened more than once.)
I have been a writer of sorts for years. For business client projects, for web and other copywriting. I had mentioned writing a book many times from a barstool, but never had I bothered to commit to anything. Writing is hard work and discipline.
Last winter, I found myself having opportunities to talk to writers and creatives that I never had before. I received an invite to a place about an hour from my home to attend a Writer’s Symposium. I met a woman who became my writing coach.
One of my friends told me about a contest that winners would receive a 4 day Writer’s Retreat in Vermont. Just for fun I entered it and won. And I went.
Facing Fear – Fear of Failure
The other part of writing and submitting a manuscript is Failing. As many of us know in this fellowship, FEAR is front and center in many of our lives. FEAR has ruled my life for longer than I care to admit.
But things that were put in front of me I couldn’t ignore. Still the gnawing and the pulling continued. My coach helped organize me at several points along the way and though she is not in the program, she was there for me. I had to put it down again. Then I was reminded that this is OUR book. This book stands up for the “Sick and Suffering.” There is HOPE. Brilliance, creativity, honesty.
Before my 3rd Anniversary, the book was written and organized. Our “Shitty First Draft” was complete.
The Hard Part
Submitting a manuscript isn’t easy, no query asks these questions. If they did they wouldn’t believe you any way. (“Hey Fred, this chick over here said she gave it to God and he partnered with her in this project- there’s a winner for you!”)
How can you take a list of requirements, answer “form questions” effectively enough to transmit the magic that is in a meeting. How does a Marketing Plan (and I have written many) explain that the content of this book will save lives – like Meetings do.
I will be submitting this to more than 1 publisher though I really hope it gets picked up by the first one I sent it to – the Publisher has published other books like this one, for people “like us.” But this one is different in the way that it is YOUR WORDS from 2013-2016, not from Bill W. back in the 40’s.
Wish us luck! This could be a great journey sprinkling “Experience, Strength and Hope.”