Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Taking Time to Relish Acccomplishments

Last Saturday I made a major accomplishment: I submitted a portion of the memoir to a publisher's nonfiction contest. I've spent a lot of time on the memoir - and it's not quite done. And I've put in many hours on this submission. I've written about the different levels of completion of the parts of the book - some were written four years ago and barely touched since. Some have been written in the past couple of months. Some were written before I re-found my voice and some came out in near ready form.

I've printed out a copy of the whole memoir so far, with inserted pages for the missing pieces. Some chapters/stories have been printed several times, as I've found older versions with parts I want to incorporate into newer editions. Or I thought I had the most recent, edited version so I printed it - then discovered there was something better in the other computer or uploaded to my cloud.

So I've also learned in this process about setting up systems. What systems work for me, or work for me now; what was a good idea but wasn't practical; and so on.

And on Saturday I turned in 119 pages of my memoir. With a one paragraph bio that was difficult for me to write. I had many versions of the bio written before I just had to say "enough - that'll do." I cut out a lot. At one point I let myself write whatever I wanted and then trimmed back and cleaned it up; sometimes I'm verbose and say in 20 words what could be said in 5; sometimes I don't say enough. But I figured it out and I was comfortable with it. The submission also included a 3-sentence description of the whole book. The *whole* *book* in 3 sentences; now, that was tough. I'm not completely satisfied with that - and that short "elevator speech" bio could do in my chances - or not. I also had to send a project summary (outline), which included the status of the overall project - which I feel good about.

I was going to wait until I got home from the beach to submit my manuscript and everything - but decided I wanted it out of my hands. If I held onto it, I might start digging into it again. Maybe. I'd wonder, anyway. But with it sent in - it's there; done.

I was surprised to find myself a little tired. Well, I shouldn't have been surprised at that - I was up long hours and late hours (you know: stay up one night late to work on something creative; then you sleep late because of that; which puts you up late again because the project isn't finished - that!). But I was surprised to find myself feeling a little "flat" or a little blue or stuck.

Then I remembered. It's the post-play-opening blues. Or the end of the relay training let down. Or the post-adrenaline slump. Yes.

The good thing is that I realized it. I didn't let the slump take over and start down the drain of "woe is me; what do I do now" path. I thought: I didn't really celebrate that I made this major accomplishment happen - I really, really did it! I have more to go, sure - about another 20% of the book to write or finish editing (no, I didn't submit everything that is editor-ready)) - but I did this big thing. Which was a big deal. I sent a chunk of my memoir to a publisher, in hopes of becoming a winner and getting a publishing contract. But even if I don't, I proved to myself I can do it and I have that much more ready for the final project.

So, I went on a YouTube search for an appropriate video. After viewing many videos and some which were totally not what I wanted, I did find this: Dave Matthews "I Did It." It's a little 'odd' but it's also kind of accurate to my experience. Including being overwhelmed by big blue figures, feeling my legs knocked out from under me, things not always being what they appeared, and more. It's fun, it's a little sexist or maybe not - I guess even some of the guys are scantily clad. It also reminds me of the essence of PICA's T:BA, which is coming up pretty soon (and I already bought my immersion pass) - so I like it for that reason, too.

Yes! I did it!