For months my manuscript has lived only in the deep recesses of my laptop. Today I turned on the printer, loaded it with paper and hit Print. It spun out all 175 single spaced pages of text that I have generated over the past two years. It’s only the second time I have printed the entire document. The first was for my own editing purposes. Just seeing the stack of paper over an inch thick was a revelation. It really looks like it could be a book.
All summer I have been preparing for this day. I have been reliving our bicycle tours yet again, refining them chapter by chapter. Mornings go by in a blur as I look for gaps to fill, research obscure facts, obsess over verb tenses and ponder how best to string the stories together. A new working title emerges, Life Cycling. Navigating adventure and constant togetherness at 12 miles an hour.
It occurs to me that to date nobody has read these pages but me. The only exception is the chapter I sold to a magazine a few months back. The larger work has remained under wraps. Until now.
Inserting the bundle into a mailing envelope and handing it over the counter in the post office makes it final. It is now out of my hands, winging its way across the country, destined for my writing coach. Who will read it.
It feels good. I’ve kept this to myself long enough, it’s time to seek input. By no means is it a complete manuscript. It has a weak beginning and no real ending. In between it lacks structure. But I believe in this project. I can feel it. One day it will be a book.
I’ve signed up for eight bi-weekly sessions of personal coaching via email with Mary Carroll Moore, starting in October. My copy of her book, Your Book Starts Here, is heavily annotated and highlighted. I’ve taken two classes from her at The Loft. Her weekly writing emails continually provide new insights. I feel strongly that she can guide me through the stages of morphing my collection of chapters into a compelling read.
I now have a month to clear my head, take a break and wait. Wait for the initial report to come back from Mary. I know I will hesitate when that email first comes through. I will open it with trepidation. Hold my breath. And eagerly prepare for the next step of this journey.