You did it! You succeeded in acquiring an agent, your book sold, and you just signed your contract. Ahhh. Life is amazing.
There’s more work to do. Maybe the hardest work of all. This is where an author truly needs encouragement, practical ideas, and inner strength. But it all starts with thoughts.
“Success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.” The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
Allowing any task to become daunting can deter us from doing all we are capable of. Especially when there’s a lot at stake — like the completion of a life’s dream. I know, I almost let it happen to me.
I was approximately 85% finished with my final manuscript and three weeks from deadline. Then I froze. There’s no reasonable explanation I can offer as to why. My outline was solid, and until that morning, my words flowed smoothly.
At first, I attributed it to exhaustion. After all, I was still working over sixty hours a week as the general manager of a large river resort, and it was early September. But after taking a couple of extra days off, catching up on rest, and trying again, still no go.
I panicked. A swell of fear felt like it was swamping over me. In a choked voice, I told my husband, “I guess I’ll send the advance money back.”
“I can’t finish.” I felt my chin quiver. “I don’t know why I ever thought I could write a book. It isn’t good enough to send in, and I can’t get any new words on the page.”
“I thought you wanted this.”
I ran out of the room. My husband meant well, and he was right. It was what I wanted, but in that moment, I didn’t know how to get it done.
The next morning, I awoke feeling no less anguished, but one thing had changed. My determination not to give up. My husband’s final words on the subject resonated in my heart. I did want this. So I got on my knees and thanked God for helping me finish what He had started. Then I took advice from my own book, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, and resolved to get the job done, regardless of how I felt.
I won’t lie and tell you things suddenly got easy. Those final pages were excruciating, and to this day, I can pick them out of my book by the weakness I see in the sentences forced into existence. But I did it. Exactly on my deadline date, I submitted the full manuscript according to contract. And I learned something.
I’m not the first author to experience soul-crushing panic deep into the book writing journey. Many have relayed similar experiences, including best-seller Michael Hyatt.
But I also learned how to push past my fears, and whether the world likes it or not, to put the message out there. It was hard, but the satisfaction is sweeter than my earlier efforts and emotions.
I’m not sure where you are on the path to publication. But if you’re new to the process, be prepared for some emotional bumps after you sign the contract. And remember — sometimes we need to do what we love, versus what feels safe.
Have you ever panicked in the middle of a big accomplishment? It’s never too late to start again.
Anita Fresh Faith
16 Replies to “After You Sign the Contract”
Yes, as you said–“soul-crushing panic.” And here I thought I was the only one! Thanks for sharing, Anita!
You are definitely not alone in that phase of soul-crushing panic. But you are also not alone in seeing it through.
Thank you for the encouragement in your comment. 🙂
You know I can relate to being frozen with fear (see my post a few days ago)! Not a good place to be, right? But that IS the place where we can find the strength we need to go forward–when we get on our knees and trust The Author of life to complete the work He began in us! Blessed to be a witness to your journey, friend! Great post!
And I love watching you move forward on your own journey, Karen. Our knees may be worn, but as we know, that’s where the real power lies.
Thank you, Anita, for sharing this aspect of the journey with us–really resonates with my soul. Having recently ’emerged’ from a couple of months of stuck-ness with my WIP, your insight is especially meaningful. Interestingly enough, the first time I read your statement, “I’m not sure where you are on the path to publication”, I distinctly saw the word “pain” instead of path. Hmm….well, being frozen with fear is certainly not comfortable. And yet, how sweet the satisfaction of staying the course and persevering! 🙂
I chuckled when I read your interpretation of pain versus path, Micky. Only because I could just as easily have made that statement. And yet, you are so right when you say, “How sweet the satisfaction of staying the course and persevering!” 🙂
Great inspiration for a Monday morning, Anita! There are so many places in the publication journey to freeze up in panic, and you’ve really captured this particular spot. I felt some panic at the end of last week as I tried to book events for my upcoming launch and kept running into barricades. Today I’m inspired to look for ways around them – authoring continues to stretch me beyond my comfort level, which is actually one of the coolest things about getting published, I think: growing (albeit reluctantly!) into a stronger messenger of God’s word.
Wow, Jan. You just inspired me back. Every stage of the publication journey can drive us to a fear-induced state of paralysis, including marketing. But the same principles that move us ahead with our writing, work equally as well in other areas. Your reminder is the kick-start I need to move ahead with a marketing idea I now realize moved to the back burner.
Thank you for this post Anita! I am in the early stages of my nonfiction book, still in very rough draft, and this nudge is timely. I DO want this and will not quit.
That’s the attitude, Susie. At the first writer’s conference I attended, one of the session speaker’s said only about 1% of aspiring writers make it to publication. But the reason is most give up. They don’t push past the fear through a resolved determination. The day I heard that, I started praying, “Lord, let me be one of the one.”
And then I believed the Bible when it said, “With God, all things are possible.”
Don’t give up on your dream. Listen to wise teachers. Stay teachable. And never lose your determination.
Anita, thanks so much for this encouraging reply!! Susie
This is great, Anita! That soul-crushing panic as we approach success, “The Resistance” as Michael Hyatt calls it, is the make-or-break moment. Will we press on? Will we remember why we did this in the first place? Will we call upon God? It’s so crucial. Pushing through with renewed strength and God’s help makes all the difference. I’m sharing this.
Amen and amen to everything you said, Melinda. And thank you very much for the share, it is much appreciated. 🙂
Publication is just a tiny speck on the landscape for me, but I appreciate these wise words. I’ve already had moments like that, and I’m only in the editing process. Thank you so much.
A tiny speck makes me think of the tiny cloud in 1 Kings 18, starting out merely the size of a man’s fist, but eventually carrying a torrent of rain. May your writing efforts surprise you with a torrent of success.
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