Celebrate the Milestones in Your Memoir Journey

My heart nearly stopped when I read the subject line of the email:

Readers Reports: Graveyard of Safe Choices

[Note the title of the memoir later changed to THE ONLY WAY THROUGH IS OUT]

The email from the university press I'd been waiting for all summer was finally here.

Catch up on the previous steps in my publication journey here.

I scanned the email:

Happy news.

Both readers recommend publication.

I put my head in my hands and started to cry. 

After 4+ years and I don't know how many drafts, it looks like my memoir has found a home.

It's not a done deal yet—there's still a couple of approvals left to go and one more semi-substantial revision to address the very helpful comments from the peer reviewers—but I think this thing is going to happen.

I'll shout it from the rooftops once I have a publication date—but I'm not going to wait to celebrate.

This is a big f**ing milestone!

Because there were days—many days—that I wanted to give up.

When I thought no one would care about my story.

When It felt too hard to revisit my past.

When I was afraid my writing and my story would be ridiculed and judged.

When I asked myself WHY I was spending all this time and energy on words when I could be watching Netflix instead. :)

When I flat out wasn't sure I had the stamina to see this project through to the end.

Writing a book is a long and winding journey.

You start with an idea, sketch out your plot and search for your deeper story, and then you write.

You finish a first draft and evaluate what you have.

You move things around. You take things out. You add things in. You revise, and rinse and repeat.

And someday, when you feel like your manuscript is as good as you can make it, you look for its home. You query agents and presses. You indie publish or go with a hybrid press.

You celebrate when your book is finally in your hands. That's the huge moment we all dream about.

But don't wait until your book is published to celebrate.

Celebrate the milestones along the way!

  • The day that you landed on the idea that now consumes you.
  • The creation of an outline that hints at the promise of the book you could write.
  • The completion of your first draft—and your next seven. :)

When you send out your first query—and yes, get your first rejection. Because rejections mean that you are serious about putting your work out into the world.

And yes—when you finally hold your book in your hands like I will someday, don't hold back on your celebration.

Let the world know! That's what I'll be doing.


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