It rained on and off all day today, and the only time I left the house was to make a trip to Sam’s Club for cat food and cheap chicken. Instead of going out or even spending time relaxing and enjoying what is supposed to be my summer vacation, I finished the last two pieces of the book I challenged myself to write. Knowing that I could so easily have been pulled away by a myriad of distractions kind of felt like a very conscious gift to myself, but since I’m not sure if a gift to myself would really count, I confess to thinking maybe I’d miss the boat and not be able to give a real gift today.
Tonight while Dan was at a boy scout meeting, I sent a message on a lark to a graphic designer friend I’ve worked with before. She lives out of state now; she moved closer to her family when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago. We have remained Facebook friends and once in a while we talk about how we’d enjoy working together again like we did in 2004, when the two of us put together a book called M.R.E. – Memorable Radio Experiences, for a local radio station. I was pretty sure my friend would be happy to help me out at no charge with the cover design for the book I finished today, but I know she is struggling a little to find work, so instead of calling the local designer I deal with who is also very talented, I asked Carrie if she’d let me hire her. She was excited. I was excited, and it felt good to be able to do something that I know will be good for her and may bring her additional jobs, too.
Maybe it doesn’t seem like a gift to some, but I know I’m perfectly capable of designing the cover for the book myself, and maybe in the end I’ll have to do just that, but part of taking on this 29 Gifts project was to help me become a little less hesitant about asking others for help, and maybe this gift I gave to Carrie by asking for her help is also a way to let me know that others are willing to help me sometimes, too. I just have to stop being afraid to ask for help.
It’s been a long day, but it’s been a super-productive one, and I don’t know how to begin to explain how exhilarating it is to know that I have actually completed a whole book. Me. A whole book that I wrote that maybe some people will want to read. I mean, how stinkin’ cool is that? I’m an author. I wonder if I felt this way back in 1989, when I wrote Rear View Mirrors, my first attempt at writing a book? I remember so little about some of that time period except that my grandmother, whom I was caring for, was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and I had a new laptop (they were brand new back then) and two whole weeks without distraction. I was able to move from the one room I had in the house when Gram was there, and I had the luxury of sitting in the living room, at the dining room table, and even on the back patio as I crafted that romance novel. Finishing it felt so great, and when I got that first rejection letter, I gave up, thinking I just wasn’t good enough to be a writer.
And here I am again with a non-fiction book sitting next to me, ready to proofread and then ready to format for e-book publication. I don’t think it will make me any money; actually, I suspect the first book will probably cost me a little more to publish than I’ll make in sales of it, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I did it, which means I can do it. And that matters because if I could do it once, I can surely do it again, and as soon as I get this one off the ground, I plan to start another one, and another one after that. Before long, I will have a faithful audience – a tribe which loves my writing, and if I continue to dream big and give big, I think the energy will continue to be positive and creative, and the excitement I felt being able to ask Carrie to work with me will just keep on happening. Until then, there’s always Day Three coming up.