They’re here! They’re here! Copyedits!
Aren’t they beautiful and shiny? Behold the colors! The strikethroughs and comments! The sea of Times New Roman! And in a totally unexpected plot twist, they look fun and relatively painless. I might not even need to open all those bags of Peet’s Coffee waiting patiently on the counter and wrapped in bright yellow caution tape.
And this, my friends, is it — the last editing round before we call this book DONE and move along to other fun stuff like covers (oooohhh), jacket copy (ahhhhh), and interior pages (pretty….). I’m just giddy thinking about how it’s all going to come together.
But here’s the best part for me. Today is my birthday. That means that for the fourth year in a row my birthday has marked a really killer, book-related milestone.
I started writing this story just after my birthday in 2008 because I decided that there was this one thing I just had to do before I turned 40. It might have been a mid-life crisis, except I have no intention of kicking the bucket at 80. And let’s just say, for argument’s sake, it was. At least I didn’t do something cliché like impulse-buy a sportscar.
The following year, I celebrated my 40th birthday by sending out my very first query letter, and I got an actual request for a partial. It was ultimately rejected, but knowing that a real live agent was interested in reading my story made that birthday pretty remarkable. That day, for the very first time, it felt like someday… maybe… possibly… But it was still just a really big dream.
I signed with my brand new agent just weeks before my birthday last year. The two of us spent time brainstorming some big ideas for revisions, and I remember spending my birthday writing madly, loving every second, and on an absolute high that I finally had a partner in the writing world. The dream to see my work in print had never felt more in reach until… today.
Today, I’m celebrating my birthday with these beautiful, magical copyedits, created by a brilliant team of people who are working hard to make this book real. I not only have a partner, I have a whole bunch of people on my side, and it’s no longer my book, it’s our book. That’s the most amazing, mind-blowing present I could ever imagine.
But late in the day, something trumped even that for “best present ever”.
For my birthday, one of my lifelong friends sent me a beautiful poem he wrote for his little girl. Like me, a busy career and growing family made him put his writing on the back-burner for far too many years. But his note told me that watching my journey this year inspired him to start writing again.
Best. Present. Ever.
Birthday-to-birthday, I’ve spent three years pursuing this goal, and most days I still can’t believe it’s happening. But all I can says is this: If there’s that one thing you’ve been wanting to do and waiting for the right time to do it, stop wanting and waiting and just start. You don’t need a big birthday to make you feel like your dream-clock is ticking and spur you into action. Just write. Or paint. Or sing. Or climb mountains. Or jump out of airplanes. Or open a restaurant. Or go visit someone you’ve been missing. Whatever it is, just do one little thing to get started. And then tomorrow, do another little thing. And just keep it going.
As for me, I’m going to stop petting my copyedits for a little while so my family can take me out to dinner. And later, I’m going to come home, tuck my kids in, and read them a beautiful poem written by my brave and talented friend.