Vulnerability: I took a giant leap in personal healing and wrote my memoir. It covers some of the most difficult times in my life. Asking my book club and a few close friends to read my entire book was by far one of the most vulnerable things I have done to date. Anxiety sky rocketed as I hit the send button on the emails containing my book. A question of “Why am I doing this book at all and sharing my story with others?” has been a constant for the past year. I came face to face with the truth during the book club review of my story.
Gratitude: I cleaned the house, made snacks and opened bottles of my favorite wines as the members of the book club arrived at my home to review my book. These members know me through our monthly meetings, yet they don’t know the story of my past, as that is not what we talk about when we meet. I relish in our conversations. Most of the members are not Americans. It is a gift to learn about other cultures, and delightful to discuss the differences with a book being the central focus. These women bring such joy to my life every month.
Within the first 30 minutes of our meeting, my question of “Why am I doing this?” was answered! These women not only praised me for my courage to be honest, but met me with their own vulnerability. My story created a safe place for women to share their own courageous stories and receive support from each other immediately. You see, my story is unique to me, but not unique to women. We all know someone who has been abused and then stood up to reclaim their life. This book is relatable to all of us. I simply used my voice in a book for all to read.
When the meeting ended anxiety was gone and gratitude was found in its place. Gratitude was not only mine; it belonged to everyone in my home. These women were proud of my courage to provide the platform for each person to share their story. Everyone was elated to feel loved, supported and believed in! Success!
Publisher: After finishing my final draft of the memoir, it was time to submit to literary agents and publishers. For the past few months I have been growing more comfortable with rejections. When I receive a rejection, I say to myself “This is wonderful. I am moving closer to the best person for this book!” Last week I received an email from a publisher. I was certain it was another rejection. It started out with the standard sentence, Thank you for your submission. The email went on to explain that the submission of my first chapter had been read and it intrigued the publisher. My head turned sideways like a dog hearing a funny noise. With continued reading, the publisher requested that I send her the entire manuscript at my leisure while she attached a sample contract. Confusion dominated my brain, as this did not match the rejection format. No one ever asked for more to read. I reread the email 3 more times to make sure this was actually a letter from a publisher that wanted more of my book. Squeals of delight, joyful laughter, and jumping all occurred simultaneously. “This is really happening, someone I don‘t know is requesting my book!” kept running through my head. This is the second person that I don’t personally know to have my entire book to read. The editor read it, but I paid her to do so. This does not mean I have a contracted publisher, but it does mean that after reading my first chapter a publisher wants more!
I must say when I hit send on the email with my entire manuscript attached I felt like I might throw up. The vulnerability is meeting gratitude in front of a publisher!
My greatest desire is to create a platform for people to share their stories and receive loving support because of it. Let’s hope that message resonates to this publisher. Stay tuned. I will know whether this publisher wants a contract with me before Christmas. This is an amazing gift. Who would have thought that writing my raw story would be of interest?