A boulder has been lifted off my shoulders. The project I’ve been working on for months, the book proposal for my memoir, Saved by Sedona: Finding a Path of Pilgrimage, has been completed and sent to an interested Literary Agent. Instead of resorting to my past behavior of rushing on to the next thing, or trying to catch up on what’s been left undone, I want to take the time to savor what I’ve accomplished.
When I started out, I researched different writing websites for how to structure a book proposal. Some of them introduced the process with, “Many authors find composing a proposal harder than writing their book.” While that didn’t make me eager to tackle the project, it did help me realize that others’ found it challenging and later when I wanted to quit, it reminded me that my struggle wasn’t unique.
Since January my dining room table has been strewn with papers including examples and my own drafts of each section of the proposal: synopsis, chapter outlines, target markets, author platform, author bio, competitive titles, sample chapters etc. The biggest challenge was to go from thinking like a writer to thinking like a publisher—seeing the world from a marketing standpoint. I have no experience with marketing and that language is foreign to me.
Many times over the course of this project, I’ve gotten up from my chair and said, “I can’t do this, God. It’s just too much.” I wanted to spend time watching movies, or taking a long walk, or reading someone else’s book. I carried it on my recent journey to Florida and spent a rainy day sludging through the competitive titles section—trying in one paragraph to compare and contrast my book with other memoirs on the market. What I wanted to do was nap all day like a cat.
But now as I reflect on the process, and the memoir is fresh from my final edits, I realize that going through the challenge of the book proposal was similar to going through breast cancer while working at The Research Company. At my initial clinic visit when the plan for treatment was laid out—surgery, chemo, and radiation that would stretch over eight months, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know how I’d make it. Gradually, the noise inside my head quieted down and I was able to hear that ‘still small voice of God’ say to just take one step at a time. Over those months, I found that, like my journeys that followed cancer and the toxic job, there were people along my path to help me.
I think of all those along this proposal path that have given me what I needed to complete the project: writers who’ve generously shared on their websites, fellow members of my Triangle Writers Group who’ve critiqued my proposal, a friend and media pro who worked with me to provide a marketer’s angle, family and friends—in person and through social media who have encouraged and prayed for me.
And there’s been the perseverance that God has given me that has been there because of feeling this is my purpose at this time in my life—what I’ve been given to do. It means that I sacrifice some things that would be easier for what is best. It means believing that this book will be published—at the right time. That is the bigger picture and the impetus behind each small step through a task that felt bigger than me.
Now, I’m able to take a moment in the stillness without the boulder on my shoulders, and see that it has become a rock on which to stand, like the red rocks of Sedona. Completing the book proposal has taken me deeper in faith and reminded me that no matter what obstacle I face, God my Rock is supporting me and will help me on that path.
How About You?
What situation do you have that feels bigger than you?
Can you remember previous examples of how you’ve met similar challenges?
What resources do you have that can help you to take a step at the time and successfully navigate through the challenge?