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