Rarely a day goes by that I don’t see a tweet, article or Facebook post referencing ACTION. Life is short; you never get a second chance; time waits for no one. You get the idea.
Now, don’t get me wrong, these axioms hold a certain weight with me, as I’m sure they do with you. But when I looked back to my last post over four months ago, I realized you all might be wondering where all the action was with me. Maybe she gave up? Maybe she returned to Singapore? As far as anyone knew, I had disappeared. In actuality, I was swallowed whole by stacks of book research and red-lined pages from my upcoming book, One White Face.
This is an update from the trenches.
My disappearing act started in March, not because I didn’t have anything quality to say but because what I had to say did not come in the form of a blog. It came in the form of a book—which requires much longer than a couple hours to write. In fact, it takes months.
Since January 2010 (1.5 years ago), people said to me, “Just write One White Face, already!” After attending a book publishing event with the phenomenal Seth Godin in NYC, I was re-energized. In March 2011, I’d been out of my job with Toyota for eight months, but had only written 120 pages. My ears grew weary of hearing people ask if the book was finished yet and a fear came over me like entering a dark tunnel that maybe I never would finish. I refused to let that happen, so I took action. I disappeared.
In two months, I wrote 451 pages; an average of 11.3 pages/day. That’s probably more pages than anyone writes in undergrad. The draft manuscript turned out to be 571 pages. (Draft…)
I went off the grid, barely going out, delaying lunch requests and kept my fridge stocked with Vitamin Water as my daily reward. My morning thrill was opening the kitchen cabinet and deciding which of three types of coffee I was going to enjoy.
Not until that March did I:
1) Garner the courage and belief in myself to commit to writing full-time (minimum 40 hours/week)
2) Discipline and train myself to write with a weekly target of hours and pages (picture below shows my first schedule tracking sheet by free-hand)
3) Really start to enjoy the profession, learn from my amazing editor, Laura Snider, and grow a profound respect for writers.
My wrists became so sore and my fingers throbbed so much I had to stretch them at night. I even tested a couple Five Hour Energies for the sake of keeping up with my target—normally, I’d be very much against. Everyone kept telling me to take a break. My response: “This is not time for a break.”
Watching the Gmail yellow message say, “loading” as my 571 page document drifted in the air to my editor, was one of the best feelings in the world. I’d finally lived up to the promise I made to so many people in my life—the promise that I would achieve my goal of writing One White Face.
One week was all I had as a break while Laura began her rounds. In the background, I had been working the whole time with my three fantastic editing interns, Amanda, Matt, and Kasey to prep the documents in four cycles of edits before Laura.
Laura told me, “Set aside two weeks to edit full-time.”
“Editing,” I thought, “that must be easier than writing.”
Yet again, I was wrong. What started as two weeks took six and before I knew it, the book was undergoing a major transformation—and cutting—as well as it’s author. Editing is a whole other (steep) curve of learning that I’d never encountered.
June 17th, Laura began the final read of the manuscript. Other than a little more work with the interns, my full-time writing and editing on One White Face had finally come to a HALT.
-No more Friday and Saturday nights at 24-hour coffee shops.
-No more turning down drinks at Sunday holiday functions because I had to go back to work.
-No more prioritizing writing over yoga and exercise.
-No more talking to myself because my only friends had become the characters in my book.
While the activity on the blog has been quiet, I’ve been busy behind the scenes executing; taking action; fulfilling promises to myself and others. Needless to say, I haven’t been getting much sleep. I may be bruised with pen ink and post-its, but I’m still here and so far, everything is on schedule. The book will be published in September. Next step: the National Book & Speaking Tour.
In the upcoming weeks, there is plenty to share so join us on our journey to keep invigorated, focused, and inspired—not just blog posts, but…
-Announcement of additions to my team!!
-Major re-haul of the website!
-Sneak peek to the book cover
-Contests, Prize$! & Special Discounts
-Introductions to famous and talented people
-Early release dates; live behind the scenes audio and video.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to, or have been promising to do, but haven’t got around to?
For those of you still there, thank you for staying with me. I promise not to leave you for that long again.