Late last night, on my way to Taherah Mafi's and Ransom Riggs' signing at The King's English, I realized it was the 21st, which meant that TRANSPARENT was exactly three months from debuting. My reactions were as follows:
1) Oh yeah! I have a book coming out! Cool!
2) Three months isn't that far away.
3) How did it take me the WHOLE DAY to remember that? Whatever happened to me counting the hours in meticulous insanity?
Ah, publishing time. I suppose I've been waiting so long that I have finally stopped actively waiting for stuff. That's a nice feeling. I remember when waiting consumed every moment of my life to the point that I had a nervous breakdown. I remember when watching time go by with nothing happening made me angry and frustrated.
Two years ago, I was getting ready to go on sub with TRANSPARENT. It had been three months since I gave up on my previous submission, so nineteen months since I'd gotten an agent. This was my "last ditch effort" at the publishing thing—if TRANSPARENT didn't sell, I'd decided I couldn't put myself through more. I would disappear and live my quiet life happily without the waiting.
Six weeks later I had an offer. And it was awesome, though I cried at the thought of having to wait 25 whole months until my book actually hit shelves. Would anyone even care by then? Would I care? How in the world would I blog for two more years when I was already out of material? It felt so far away—it WAS far away—and yet looking back I think I'm grateful for these past two years of waiting. It might sound disturbing, but they kind of beat me into submission. I've been forced to focus my efforts elsewhere, since there was nothing I could do about my determined publication date.
So I wrote other stuff. I had a baby. I lived my life and discovered there was a lot more to me than waiting to be published. Sadly, in my pursuit of an agent and a sale, I had forgotten that. I learned to cook new things. I made new friends. I savored moments I had previously deemed worthless when publishing consumed my life. I realized how messed up I was, how skewed my priorities had become.
Now, three months out from publication, I'm kind of shocked at how zen I feel about it all. If I'd debuted two years ago, I imagine I'd be reading every review and stressing over rankings and driving myself insane. Those are things I rarely think about these days. My eyes are on my own paper, my own stories, and I'm just trying my best to get better.
I have no way of knowing if I'll be able to maintain these sentiments as publication approaches, but I sure hope I can.