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A Week of Ants In My ”Big Girls Author Pants”!

Hello there, here I am all mucky in my publisher trenches and on a big deadline! My hair is like rats tails, the fridge rammed with all manner of healthy veggies I don’t fancy, papery-dead flowers are still in the vase on the table, and a trail of my creative chaos is littered around the house. Yes dear friend, this week I’ve entered an exciting part of the publishing journey. But it hasn’t all been fanfares since Friday. Growing pains and steep learning curves have been my near constant companions, with overwhelm also hijacking the party for the first two or three days. If you’ve been wondering what it’s like making a book, or you are struggling in the midst of your own creation, then I hope this week’s Note satisfies your curiosity, makes you smile, and inspires you to keep going with your own creations.

This week I’ve been immersed in the creative brief for the front cover of my memoir, The Love of One. My designer emailed me a few days ago with the forms, the five month waitlist for my slot almost over.

You know, after spending four months in the thick of transitioning from being a writer and an author to being my own publisher bringing her work into the world, it was almost funny for a moment to remember that oh yes, indeed, I have one of those bookthingamajiggys! I’ve been concentrating far more on starting to create the structure and support for that book coming into the world, than I have been thinking about the book itself.

Upon opening his email, I went into a bit of a tailspin.

I wasn’t prepared for all the technical publishing questions at this stage of the game, and I realised I still also hadn’t really given my cover much thought. There’s been barely a moment lately to even eat an entire chocolate cake, or an apple pie with vat of custard, or anything else worth snaffling at the height of creative stress – let alone think about what my cover wants to be!

So I did the first few things I sometimes do when the stress gets big.

I hyperventilated.

Had a few bawls. 

Overloaded my brain with ‘’I can’t do it!’’

Railed against having to wear any big girls pants for the job in hand.

Snorted a huge bag of crisps and glugged a rare glass of red at 9.59a.m.(realising that waiting one minute longer would have been much more respectable.)

Rinsed and repeated every few hours for the rest of the day.

I know it sounds so terribly unevolved. But what can I say? Book covers are pretty important things. And I seriously doubt my capacity to learn new things sometimes. I can doubt my capability, get overwhelmed. And when I go into react-mode, I almost always terrorise myself with a strategy of shaming, and threats of failure that painfully bite me the way only big ants know how.

Thank God then that the next day brought a renewed sense of resolve, along with help from hubby and an author friend on skype, to get me breaking down my tasks and thinking in smaller chunks. Their main message to me was that I can do it!

Somehow we managed to find answers to what trim size to choose for my book, what colour paper, how many pages my book would be in a final layout (including front loading and back loading and what the heck that meant), what I needed to do to get an ISBN, what companies I would use to upload the book onto Amazon and also to print my books on demand. Since then, I have sunk deeper into my manuscript again and its entire vibration, begun to feel excited again, the the joy of potential, and the creativity of things. So for a little window in on my world. I can tell you that I’ve:

Been in a bookstore furtively speaking into my mobile phone voice recorder while I do a pile of research about book covers and take the odd sneaky photo (until the shopkeeper came up behind me with a suspicious frown, and asked me if I was looking for anything in particular).

Re-logged all my themes and motifs and symbols in the story.

Spent 8 consecutive hours doing a chapter by chapter synopsis for the book. 

Tuned in to my intuition a few times but always fell asleep.

Rung some of my beta readers and asked for their thoughts.

Talked to Gordon about it all until his eyes started to show more of the whites than anything else, and his head almost fell off.

And a whole heap of other stuff besides.

Amidst all that, I’ve been seeing clients, setting up my Author Page on facebook, facilitating week 5 of my online pilot for Walking with Heart, and accepting an exciting opportunity to do with my book (that has me on another deadline before Sunday) Oh and of course, I’ve been writing this edition of Notes for you.

So to wrap up then, life’s good!

I just pressed ”submit” for all the forms to my designer. 

I’m in my adventure.

And if you too are in your own creative project and are feeling overwhelmed, or you are on a big deadline, don’t do anything I have been doing to freak yourself out :)  Instead, eat well, get good rest, gift yourself fresh flowers, remember to breathe, and know…

you CAN do it! 

Invitation: What about you? What are you working towards at the moment? Or do you have a big fat ”I can’t do it” getting in your way? I would love to hear!


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