I sent in my completed manuscript a few weeks ago and this is the scenario I hoped would happen.
Editor: Oh, Mary, I've just finished your manuscript and it's the most amazing, enlightening, uplifting book I've read in ages. Everything is just perfect.
This is reality:
Editor: Mary, here's a long, long list of things we need to work on.
This is what it felt like:
Editor: Oh, Mary, is that your baby? Oh, she's really ugly, bless her heart. Here's a list of really good plastic surgeons that can fix her right up.
Now, in my wonderful editor's defense she wrote the most amazingly kind and gentle letter. She opened with at “now don't you worry, this is not uncommon” paragraph before her list of suggested changes, additions, enhancements. All of them are well thought out suggestions that will make the book more powerful and more effective, but it hurt like heck to read it. I cried. A lot. Ugly crying. Black mascara smearing, tears rolling down my cheeks crying.
I don't know why I was crying – maybe because I wanted to be the star pupil. I wanted to have the best manuscript and I wanted her to love the work. But I'd ripped that manuscript apart every which way to Sunday and I wasn't 100% satisfied when I turned it in. Something felt off, but I knew I couldn't keep fiddling with it.
I just wanted everyone to love that little baby – ugly or not.
Girlfriends, God, and Grace has been with me for a long time. I lived it and then wrote it. When I turned that book in to my editor, I felt like I'd lost a limb – well, not a really big limb, but maybe a little finger or pinky toe or something. More of something you'll miss but can live without – not to be offensive to anyone who's lost a little finger or pinky toe. (Now, I have this horrible dread of getting a letter from some group about my offensive lost limb blog post).
I rolled all of this around in my brain until about 2am and this is some of what I came up with.
I'm a control freak. (Those of you who know me well are thinking ‘this is her revelation? Please. ‘) God's dealing with me on it. I'm struggling. Yesterday's blog or is it today's blog — either way, in the last blog I wrote “a place of new dependence on the Lord.” Well, apparently I'm still a major work in progress.
I like to be in control. I'm usually in some type of leader role. With this book, I'm not. It's a scary place to be. So, there's lesson number one. I'm sure there are so many more lessons to learn – hopefully they won't make me cry, but who knows.
I'm so blessed to be where I am – a new Christian author with a book at Thomas Nelson and an editor who believes in the work. I know that God is smiling on me and I'm learning to let go of all control. I'm releasing it to Him. He will do a much better job than I ever could. \
So, I'm taking my ugly baby and we're off to do a little work on her. She'll look much prettier when we're done. I'll keep you posted on her progress. Bless her little heart.