Reflections Along the Way to Publishing My First Book.
- Of course it felt good to get an official contract from a reputable publisher.
- The good feeling lasted for about two days until I went to buy a book at my local Barnes and Nobles. As I observed all of the books for sale, 'it ' hit me. If I complete the manuscript by my deadline of July 15th my book will be published by November.
- This should have been a joyous realization. Right? So it was for about two minutes - long enough to realize that I would be wide open for who knows what judgments. Above all I thought I don't want to embarrass myself. The words of Mark Twain came to mind: Better to remain silent and let people think you are stupid than to say something and remove all doubts about it.
- From that moment I immersed myself in a kind of a bubble. Virtually every spare moment for the last 4 months has been dedicated to doing justice to my work. I retreated to my basement 'cave' that has my main computer, an accumulation of literally decades of research notes, about 40 books , many with their jackets falling apart, their spines broken, and pages so underlined that their texts are almost incomprehensible.
- Forty years of investigating the perplexities of meaningful coincidences (synchronicities) -
- Edit, edit, edit... One minute I'm high believing I have finally aced the preface and at least the first chapter, only upon rereading both, plummeting the next wondering how I could possibly have been so unclear and incoherent.
- It's a good thing I decided to work as hard and disciplined as I experienced time race by. Suddenly the deadline was in sight. Good for me I thought as the major work was finished except for the last chapter and the footnotes.
- How could I have possibly miscalculated? Those damn dreaded footnotes.... I should have known better in doing my research. Points for faithfully copying the substance but boos for having often omitted recording the sources, and dates of the material.
- All of the material could be and had to be and has been retrieved but time pressures were mounting.
- Don't panic I told myself as the deadline loomed ever closer. Most of it is done except the last chapter.
- Only the last chapter? Are you kidding?
- Steady as ye goes - experiencing a looming fight between me as simultaneously 'cool' and 'pre panicky'.
- There was justification for my panic. Having identified in the past with the character who played in the movie: "The loneliness of the long distance runner" I have been known to clutch at just this point in the past and was worried I might choke again.
- The night before the deadline I realized I must complete the last chapter but I was nearly out of time.
- I decided I had no other choice but to trust my instincts... and remarkably twenty five pages poured out of me that was surprisingly coherent, clear, and cohesive, in sync with my topic and my arguments.
- I was almost ready enough to send my manuscript the next day but was fortunate to receive an unexpected present from my gracious editor. As she was going on a two week vacation she said to wait till she returned. Marvelous! A two week reprieve. Gave me two extra weeks to finish all the fine details.... I could complete the dreaded notes, make sure I had all the references to my 10 page bibliography.... see if I could or should sqeeze one more powerful quotation to nail down my argument...
- I could go on forever - continuing to expand, think of another idea, marshal great quotes to nail down my arguments - But this work has to end. What's enough?
- The solution to what's enough is that my research is a work in progress...Ok enough! I had reached the end, for now - But how to end.... Then as if by magic it came to me: I had the perfect two line ending with a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead
where there is no path and leave a trail."
With my ending in tact I sent my five pounds of material to my editor. Yesterday I have been as exhausted as I have ever been in my life. Today the exhaustion continues. A horrible fantasy of my obituary: "First time author completes his 40 year research project but dies from exhaustion the day before publication."
I could sleep for a month. I feel the need to decompress....
I imagine I am experiencing some of the feelings typically voiced by a first time mother who has just given birth anxiously waiting for the doctor's feedback as to the baby's apgar score. I hope my "baby" will have all of its basic parts such as its fingers and toes, and color, within normal limits and the likes.
So now I restlessly await the judgment of my editor who will likely see my submitted manuscript on Monday. But regardless of her opinion, I can honestly say I did the very best I was able to do and pleased that I pushed myself to the max.
For those who are interested the official name of my book is:
Demystifying Meaningful Coincidences (Synchronicities):
The Evolving Self, The Personal Unconscious, and The Creative Process.
The editor told me she expects to have it published by late October or early November of this year - 2009.