As I finish up Book Two in the Olivia Callahan Suspense series, I’m thinking about what a huge effort it is to take a story from idea to the advance review copy (ARC) stage. I don’t know about other authors, but I’m so sick of my manuscript by the time I’ve written the story, edited it myself and rewritten the story; recruited betas to read it so I can get input from fresh eyes and perspectives, make the changes suggested, look over it again, format the darn thing in a suitable condition for my editor to start a developmental edit…and after that edit, THEN it goes to copyedits and another round of corrections. In between all that, I try to stay current on social media, schedule author events, and submit cover ideas to my publisher that they will then turn over to the artist. A friend of mine asks if after my book is published, will I read it and regret changing some things, or regret ending it a certain way?
I had to laugh. Heck, no, I don’t read my books after they’re finished. It’s too late to do anything about changing things at that point, and truly, I don’t want to lose myself in the story again, I want to write a new one! Besides, after I’ve taken a breath, and looked back on that the journey of that book, I think about how much further I’ve come as a writer, and the progress that occurs at every stage.
The final stage of a book is bittersweet. After all the blood, sweat, and tears…the critiques and changes and hours spent editing…it’s hard to let go of it. I feel the same way about jobs I’ve had, or bitter debates with relatives or spouses over details that in the long run, matter not one bit. Even the Bible states very clearly that ‘things come to pass’, and that there are seasons for things. Right now I’m in the ‘final stage’ season of my book. Relief is right around the corner, and soon I’m going to let go of it, and schedule a break before I start another one.
So my question is, why get so worked up about stuff? Why do we waste our days this way? It all counts. It all teaches us important lessons. And every experience we have eventually culminates in one, big, fat, final stage. And even then, if you believe in Christ, there’s an eternal stage after the final-final-final stage that sounds pretty awesome.
My daughter’s father and I haven’t been together for more than thirty years, so the final stages of that marriage happened decades ago. She called me with the sad news that her dad was in ICU, with maybe six weeks of life left, and she is in his hospital room, trying to help and support, even as I type this. A final-final-final stage is happening for her dad, and she’s making sure he knows that he counted. For him. For her. This is the important thing…that each final stage hopefully makes a positive change in us and others. She is holding his hand and being there for him to let him know…that his final stage…counts.
In the current climate of 2021, amidst all the fear, worry, anger, and posturing…I don’t care if we vax or un-vax, protest or complain about the protests, cling to socialism or cling to capitalism. Sure, I have my preferences, but in the huge scheme of things, it’s all headed to a final stage, anyway. If I get involved, one way or the other, I should be kind. If I disagree with someone, I should respect their choice. If I get upset over a reaction, or government mandate, I should pray, and act accordingly. Above all, I should not waste my short seasons of life with worry, hate, fear, or inappropriate reactions because of someone else’s choices that have nothing to do with mine. Sinking into the abyss of hatred or judgment robs us of joy.
I’m not letting anyone steal one minute of my joy. Venting and complaining and pouting about something is a complete waste of time, and not worth it. (Not that I’m successful in keeping these things at bay all the time, but I DO know life is better without them!)
I can’t even believe the crazy back-and-forth happening on FB, and the nasty, hateful comments. How do these people even have time to sit there and monitor and answer comments all day long? Isn’t there more to life, people?
During every stage, I’m putting joy at the top of my emotional stack, and hatred and judgment at the bottom. Think about it. The final three letters of ‘enjoy’ are ‘joy’. Let’s get out there and roll around in it.
(Hint: it helps to limit time on social media!)