A sigh of relief...

This morning I finished my final revision. Next step will be the polish of a professional editor. I have purged my manuscript of nearly 21,000 words. (The word count now is approximately 106,000.) Of course, there will be acknowledgments and a foreward, perhaps a brief epilogue. So that is not a final count. But it's a big step toward a finished book.

Although I have believed for years that I had a book in me, I don't think I ever thought I would actually write it. A specific event in January caused me to think about it more seriously. I had the feeling that now was the time, but I didn't know why. I just felt inspired to start writing. I think it's presumptuous of me to say this was God's timing. But in many ways, it has felt like my inspiration came on God's time schedule and not my own.

In four months, I wrote 127,000 words. I wrote and rewrote. I didn't keep track of rewrites, but I revised each chapter endlessly. (Just ask my readers!) Sometimes I would send three revisions in a row before one of my trusted friends even had a chance to check their email. They learned to only read the most recent version and delete all the rest.

I owe such a huge debt of gratitude to those readers, who constantly gave me such valuable constructive criticism and their own unique insight/reactions to my writing. I am especially grateful to those who dared to tell me "Stop explaining yourself!" One dear friend said it to me the most bluntly of all. "Shari, if a reader can't see your heart by chapter 26, it's because they don't want to! You have spent four pages explaining yourself. Stop doing that!" A gentler friend (concerned he might hurt my feelings) carefully agreed, saying, "Sometimes you do slow down the train just a bit when you do that. I want you to keep telling the story."

It was good advice. The really exciting thing for me, though, was that by the last few chapters, I didn't feel that compulsion to explain myself anymore. I felt a new sense of freedom to speak the truth from my heart without agonizing over and apologizing for my feelings. As I edited the final three chapters today, I was moved to tears. They are very emotional chapters for me.

The book has essentially been finished for nearly a month, but I have continued to make revisions. I think the only changes left will come from an actual editor as he gets it ready for publication. I feel like I'm done. And I feel a real sense of relief this afternoon.

I hope to release this book before the end of the summer. And I cannot wait for you to read it!

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