Yes, We’ll Publish Your Book If You Will Make These Changes

The other day it struck me how much people who are successful surround themselves with and rely on others.  The successful person has the creative idea, and can be the mouthpiece, but a whole army of others do the dog-work.  My therapist reiterated that for me today.  We were talking about me finishing my book to the best of my ability, and handing it on for others to edit and shape if necessary.  That led to, how hard it is to know who to listen to, whose advice to follow.

While I’ve been writing, forming my ideas and getting them into order so that my book has flow and makes sense, I haven’t wanted anybody’s input, because if you bring somebody in too early  they can commandeer your work.  Or else you run the risk of them not understanding where you’re planning to go with it and side-tracking you.  So I wanted to have my imprint on this work and wanted to achieve that on my own.  It is my work, after all.

Now I’m ready to send it off to publishers and get feedback.   If a publisher likes it but wants it to be edited, I’m fine with that, so long as I’m clear about what their goal is and what they require of me.  You can be sure that if, for example, Ms. Lauren Marino of Gotham Books, New York says they’ll publish but they want to edit it, I’m going to say it’s just fine by me!  It’ll be a relief to be in the hands of professionals.  It’ll be an absolute pleasure to be guided and to give up some of the control, where it’s appropriate.

What I don’t want to do is to is lose my own core authority about the book, and sometimes it can be easy to do that, because the world abounds in people who call themselves authorities who are really more opinionated than anything else.  The difference between those kind of people and the ones who know what they’re talking about, isn’t always obvious.  And always in the forefront of my mind is the fact that any kind of production regarding books, films, art, music in today’s world isn’t about the ultimately perfect project.  It’s about a project that some people like and think is brilliant.

And some people hate it and wax very eloquently about why it should be different.  Others don’t care either way.  You have to be clear about what you want, and discriminating about who you listen to, and about your decision to change something because somebody thinks you should.  Because here’s the thing: even if somebody suggests something that sounds really good, how do they know that the publisher will like it?  More to the point, how do you know?   You don’t.

Imagine this sad scenario.  You write a book.   People read it for you and say rather do it this way.  You make the changes.  You never find a publisher.  When you’ve died and gone to wherever, you get to look back and see the publisher of your choice reading your manuscript and thinking it would have been better if…  And what they really were looking for was how you originally wrote it.  Gaaaah.

I’ve decided that my litmus test of whether I should change something or not is going to be these 9 delicious words: yes we’ll publish if you will make these changes.

Advertisements

Inspiration from Piers Morgan Interviewing Beyonce and Josh Grobin

I’ve been watching Piers Morgan for quite a while now, whenever it’s flighted.  He’s such a different person to who I thought he was from America’s Got Talent.  I hated him on that show, he was so damn arrogant and brutal.  Sometimes I longed to see him make himself vulnerable and have people tear him to pieces in front of millions of viewers around the world.

And then he got this job and a completely different side of him came out, or maybe it was always there, he just didn’t show it.  Or maybe it’s an act.  Somehow I don’t think so, though.  He does let himself be vulnerable on his show, and he also encourages his guests to do the same, regardless of their gender.  When he doesn’t respect somebody, though, it’s usually for pretty good reasons, and he asks the kind of questions that will expose them.

In a way he’s drawing a little from Oprah’s style.  It’s people’s humanity he seems to be looking for.  The other night Beyonce was his guest.  I never had a clue what a beautiful person she is.  She’s not at all arrogant or egotistical, but she’s not self-effacing, she’s just so natural.  And she’s thoughtful, she cares about what she does with her life in a quality way.  She has a kind of quiet confidence.  She’s also so articulate she was a pleasure to watch and listen to.

It was the same with Josh Grobin.  I’ve always thought he was a bit too clean and nice, but I saw a man with a great sense of humor about himself and, like Beyonce, an absence of distorted ego.  He was just a regular guy.  There’s nothing flashy about him, but he’s not dull, he kind of shines on the inside, it’s beautiful.  He said his favorite thing is when he meets a woman who doesn’t know who he is, so he gets a chance to be viewed as somebody normal.  How about that.

I wonder what it’s like to be on that side of the fence.  Well, I don’t have a voice that’s anything like either Josh Grobin’s or Beyonce’s, and I’m not starting young.  In fact, every time I’ve started I’ve stopped not long after.  Not this time, though.  I’ve got something to prepare for, and three months to do it.  Vocal exercises, learn to sight read for voice, listen to lots of jazz, download backing tracks and practice three audition songs.

And, even though it might seem from a certain perspective that I haven’t got a chance of going anywhere with this, I’m not even going to entertain that idea.  What’s the point?  I can’t look into the future and predicting the worst for myself will make me shut down again.  I don’t know where my voice will take me, but at least I can make sure I begin the journey.  I’ve been on the journey of my writing for a while, and I’ve at least got a book written now.  I’ve started looking for publishers.

I want to do both these things, so I’m at least going to try.  And just as I hope with my writing to get Oprah’s blessing one day, maybe one day Piers will be interviewing me and saying “nobody would have believed you could get this far”.

Where Dreams Come True

Finding a balance between the reality of circumstances as they are now and that other  reality – where I can go to in my imagination about where I want my life to be – has always been a challenge for me.  If you dream big but you have low self esteem and lousy entitlement, and you don’t know how to deal with the world, there’s always going to be a huge gap between your dreams and the reality of your circumstances.

If you’ve got a big lust for life, a powerful imagination and creativity that demands an outlet, but you’re dominated by fear and you’ve never been shown how to be practical about getting where you want to go, all that good stuff can turn on you.  It did for me.  The result was that I used my capacity to dream as an escape from the reality of my incapacity to do what needed to be done to actualize my dreams, and to avoid the real pain and sometimes nameless, shapeless terror that rises up in me when I do try to be practical.

Some people eat, or take drugs, to escape.  I’ve done that too, and when I stopped I have often used my imagination.  And my thinking brain.  The minute I come up against a challenge, I’m tempted to dash off into the big dream or trying to understand the why of the challenge.  Instead of just being in it and facing it.  The thing that propels me away from the challenge is the same thing that propelled me into taking cocaine, into over-eating.

But I’ve just plugged away to the best of my ability, and in some areas I don’t have to run any more.  With writing, that nameless shapeless terror doesn’t happen any more.  I’m not afraid to write, or to get it wrong, or be blank for a while.  I’m not terrified of rejection; I don’t like it, and of course it creates emotion in me, but I’m just not disempowered by it any more.  I’ve built up quite a powerful capacity to hold onto my sanity and be grounded in my writing.

Much of that is the help I’ve had in rebuilding my self-esteem and entitlement.  It’s allowed me to stick at it and not give up.  But also I’ve had so much unconditional love and acceptance for my writing, primarily on SearchWarp.  It was like a kind of miracle for me.  I never expected anybody to like what I wrote.  I expected rejection or just nothing.  From the first thing I ever wrote there, I’ve had such great response; wonderful, generous comments, people opening their hearts and embracing me, becoming my friends.  How fortunate is that?

I’ve always dreamed big but I used to get lost in that dreaming and the small steps I needed to take to make that dream a reality were too scary.  When I tried, the fear would overwhelm me and I’d run.  Even just sending a cover letter to a publisher was a massive challenge.  The prospect of rejection was so painful – and I kept experiencing it all the time.  Not any more.  This is a big triumph for me and it means I’m free to step out into the world with my writing, and take the risks that need to be taken.  Do those practical things.  I’m not just a dreamer any more.  Big cause for celebration.

My Bright Future and Moment of Glory

Some time ago, from position of great spiritual awareness and inner poise and conviction of bright future I got an email from Oprah and OWN.

Okay, so a million other people also got one, still it’s something, isn’t it?  She sends out mail asking questions, and the question du jour was “what brought about change in your life?”  Hah!  I’ve got an answer for that one, I thought, it’s tailor made for me.  At last, it’s my turn to be noticed by Oprah.  Imagine my excitement when I saw she’s also looking to discover somebody.  I thought the two were connected.

You see!  I shouted to the world and nobody in particular.  My landlady’s cat, asleep on top of a cupboard, opened one eye and contemplated me through it.

I felt like a kid in class who had the answer.  I know what made me change.   The fact that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make my dreams come true, couldn’t escape the insanity inside my head.  Then I went bankrupt and that forced me to stop and face myself.  Now at age 55 I’m finally getting to do the things I always wanted to.

That’s pretty exciting isn’t it?  It is to me.  So in 1500 words I told the story of my Adventurous Life so far.  Yes, yes yes!!!   I’m going to be discovered by Oprah.  God, the universe and I are all aligned in conspiring to create a brilliant future for me.

Then I noticed that the discovery thing is something different, she’s looking for people to host their own shows.  Oh.  And you have to have a big personality.

Oh.

Crash.  I’m not woman of substance after all, am just mousy, unfunny, unoriginal wishful thinking loser.  I’ll never be good enough to make it into Oprah’s club of Important People who’ve really made it.   Oprah would look at me and say “you?  I don’t think so.”

I hate the universe and god and my older sister.  I haven’t stepped out of history, hate history, hate stepping.  Wish the cat would stop staring at me.