Solo Journey: Dream Destination

In last week’s blog post, I told about how a Literary Agent set me on a Solo Journey of Indie Publishing. I knew my dream destination—publication of my memoir, but I felt hesitant to take the first step forward. Like when I approach my yearly solo journeys– the destination is determined but there is uncertainty with how to start. Before each journey, I feel resistance to crossing the threshold of the safety of the known in order to enter the unknown world.

 With my yearly pilgrimages, I’ve developed a pattern of asking the question, “Where should I go this year, God?” and then wait to see what comes forth. After that, it works best to take some action, even though it might not follow a logical order—just move forward on the path and the clues for what to do next will appear. After meeting with the Literary Agent, I took a couple of weeks to consider things and then decided to hire the professional editor that I met at the conference.

When she sent back my manuscript with her remarks, she started her email with, “Don’t be overwhelmed with all these comments. It’s a lot and more than anyone can handle at once. Just work your way through them one at a time.” She was right; I’d never received editorial notes for 210 pages at one time. At first I said to myself, “I can’t do this.” Her edits came the day we were leaving for the beach. I’d deal with them when we returned.

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Forgetting the edits at Emerald Isle, N.C.

I took the next month to make the needed changes. As an Indie Author, I was the boss and would set my own pace.  Like traveling solo, I had no one else to answer to, no need to negotiate how to approach the journey. Doing the rewrites for my memoir was a big task. There were days I’d say to myself, “Keep your butt in this chair and stick with it.” I’d look out my window and see other people enjoying summer and it felt like I was being forced inside to do my homework. But then I’d remember that I chose this and was intentionally moving forward on the path toward my dream.

Further down that path, it was time to hire a cover design artist. Several people at the conference recommended the company 99designs. You submit your request in the form of starting a contest with their international artist community. After you write your brief telling about your story and give details that will help a designer, you wait for proposals to come in. You have a narrow window of time for giving them feedback, asking for preliminary changes, and deciding on the finalists. I wasn’t sure about the process but it was the best option that I had.

The proposals I received in the first twenty-four hours were disappointing. I wondered if using that company was a mistake. There are times on my trips when I feel uncertain, and at times, foolish, afraid that I’m going to make a mistake, especially when it comes to time and money. But after forty-eight hours, I received two proposals that were much closer to what I had in mind. Over that week, I went back-and-forth with an artist in Madrid. With the time difference between Spain and the East Coast of the U.S., I had to pay close attention to the ticking clock of the contest. There were moments I felt uncomfortable with making such an important decision, since a book jacket helps to show your story and to attract readers. But like working through those edits, I’d think about the options, pray, take a walk and sort through the pros and cons. I called on several people who’ve read my book to weigh in on the proposed jacket.

The main issue came with the image of the woman on the cover—the one depicting me at forty-five sitting by Oak Creek in Sedona. After I’d had the artist change the image several times, I still felt hesitant but couldn’t put my finger on the problem.

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I went to bed knowing I had to give the final okay by the following day. I woke up at 3:30 and the woman’s image– sitting on the rock looking at the water, came to mind. Staring at my alarm clock, it occurred to me what was wrong.

Her hair has to look like post-chemo hair, I thought. The woman’s long hair was what I wished I had back then, but was far from the short, curly locks that grew in after treatment. I couldn’t offend my readers, who like me, didn’t take hair for granted after losing it.

I got out of bed and sent an email to the designer. It would be 8:30 in Madrid and she may have time to make the change while I went back to sleep.

Later that morning, I checked for the artist’s response and felt pleased with her new image, the figure with enough hair to show a woman’s silhouette but not the long hair with a flip that didn’t ring true for my story.

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A portion of the cover of my memoir, He Heard My Voice

My solo journey to my dream destination has taken me on a path through edits, and cover designs and other discoveries. There are more challenges ahead. Like my yearly pilgrimages, I will continue to put one foot in front of the other, uncertain of how to walk each section but depending on God and the people in my path to help me.

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How About You?

What is the Dream Destination for your Solo Journey?

What obstacles or challenges might you encounter?

What supports do you have to help you walk through each section of your journey?

 

8 thoughts on “Solo Journey: Dream Destination

  1. I hear ya! Writing is fun akin to playing basketball in your own driveway where you are always the star until you try to write with the public in mind, with spectators watching and judging, and then you begin noting your craft, your skill set, the picture you present to the world. Then it becomes work! I just finished reviewing edits for my mystery, Why Mama? Sometimes I agreed with the editor; sometimes I didn’t. Then what to do?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Erika,
      I know you understand all of this! It can be lonesome and tiresome work– but I guess it’s worth it or we wouldn’t keep at it, would we?
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Love the comparison to basketball. Going public is a scary prospect but forces us to up our game!
      Best to You,
      Connie

      Like

  2. I really love your writing and the questions you pose.

    I’ve learned to write what I know, and to write when the mood/feelings hit. Looking back, I can tell the posts that weren’t as heartfelt.

    You always make me think, thank you!

    MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your generous comments.
      It is hard to find something that is heartfelt every time we sit down to create a new work. Sometimes the ones that might not have been the most heartfelt for me, resonated for one of my readers–and for that I was grateful. You just never know how what you write will impact someone else– but you keep doing it because that’s what you love to do.
      Best to you in finding that heartfelt work that is meaningful,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful as always. I am on this confined journey at this time. With the restrictions, I sleep a lot and just kill time. I will soon begin to walk a journey in the neighborhood to look for expansion. Soon I will branch out for the real Ring. One step at a time.
    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your supportive comments.
      Yes, some journeys are more confined in some ways, but open us up in others. Best to you as you take the next step on your unique path.
      Blessings,
      Connie

      Like

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