Eighteen years. That’s how long I’ve flirted with the idea of writing a book. I dabbled a little, publishing a few humor articles and co-writing some magazine publications, but did little else. I told myself I didn’t have time to write a book.
Five years. That’s how long I spent seriously talking about it. I brought it up often. Monthly, weekly, daily sometimes. I told myself I didn’t have the time.
Then I had a turning point. I took The Focus Course by Shawn Blanc. I got excited! The course made me realize that I could make the time to write a book. What was I waiting on? I made a plan, focused on executing it, and started writing. Starting was hard. I had to say no to a lot of other things in order to make the time, but I did it.
Seven months. That’s how long I spent writing the initial book proposal. I read a book that a friend recommended to me that explained the process of writing a top-notch book proposal. Then I got to work. When the book proposal was finished, I sent it to an A+ literary agent for her review.
She passed on the project! This is the woman I wanted to represent us. I was very disappointed, as you can likely imagine. Seven months wasted. Time and effort that had gone up in smoke. I reached out to her to get feedback and to find out how the proposal could be improved.
“It’s time for you to write a book,” she said, “but this proposal won’t get you a great publisher.” She suggested I work with an expert to help write a better book proposal, and I agreed. She helped me find a great one. All the great feedback and help they provided gave me hope that I would reach my end goal.
Nine months. That’s how long I worked with my new expert to write a great book proposal. This time, it was shorter and tighter. He’s an excellent writer, editor, and collaborator. He’s been in the publishing business for a long time, so he knew exactly what would appeal to top agents and publishers. I learned so much during this process.
One month. That’s how long it took to nail down our agreement with that same A+ literary agent. She was excited this time. She’s really good. I’m so happy she is representing us!
Three months. That’s how long it took our agent to generate interest from several top publishers. We chose Hachette. We fell in love with our editor, her passion for the project, and how Hachette can market our book to the world.
Seven months. That’s how long it took to write the initial manuscript. I’m told it usually takes twelve months to write a 60,000 word book. We wrote 85,519 words in seven months. It was hard, but it was always fun. I fell in love with writing.
We sent the initial manuscript to the editor at Hachette this week. Going from nothing to 85,519 words was monumental. Driving to publication date will be magical. We still have much work to do over the next few months, but this is the easier part, the exciting part. We did it!
I learned something along this journey. There is time. There’s always a way to focus on what we really want to do, to leave a legacy, to do our life’s work. I’ve always regretted not starting sooner. But on the day that I sent the manuscript in, I had a different feeling.I’m glad we started when we did.
Once, when I was feeling regret about something else long ago, my friend David Lindsey shared a Chinese Proverb with me: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.