No doubt you heard about Hurricane Dorian making its way through the Bahamas and up the East Coast of the United States over Labor Day weekend 2019. It feels like old news in some regards except for those in the Bahamas whose homes were decimated and are starting over. (Let’s take a moment to pause and send them love and healing energy. Here’s how.)
Before Dorian hit the Bahamas, it was pointed squarely at Florida and had a bullseye on Brevard County where I live, right across the street from the mighty Atlantic Ocean. That wasn’t a concern for me at first when it was going to make landfall as a category 1, but when it shifted to category 5, I made the decision to leave… but not for the reasons you may think.
I didn’t leave because of fear of the hurricane.
I knew that the intensity would shift many more times before making landfall. Plus the exact target of impact would switch at least another 50 times, too, and it may not even hit where I live.
I would have stayed longer to see if I actually needed to evacuate my home. But I left because I had just signed my publishing contract and my first significant deadline with my editor was in less than a week. I needed to feel safe in a calmer environment with the luxuries of electricity and internet to meet my deadline and stay on track to publish in May 2020.
I reasoned that if the electricity went out at an Orlando hotel because of the hurricane, then they would likely be prepared with a generator for backup.
After a few minutes researching Orlando hotels, I found a suite at an Inn that allowed pets and had a kitchenette. I booked it for eight nights and packed up essentials. I filled coolers full of food from my fridge and freezer so it wouldn’t go bad if the power went out at home. I wrapped my computer and monitors in an extra soft blanket inside a big rubber storage bin and tucked small throw pillows between them. I included a cute mini “you got this” sign to put on my desk as an inspirational reminder. And of course, I packed kitty food, litter, and toys.
With our safety and security no longer threatened, I was able to hunker down and focus for several hours a day on my book.
Thursday, September 5, 2019, was the big due date…
with a self-imposed noon deadline to submit my manuscript. After all the endless hours I poured into handwriting, typing, editing, editing, and more editing my work was all collimating. I combined all 12 chapters into one document, created a table of contents, inserted page numbers, and uploaded my full manuscript into an email.
I was so excited, and I wanted to commemorate all my efforts of this milestone. I clicked on my Voxer “Adventure Trio” group to connect with a couple of my dearest Florida friends, Wendy and Kari. I played the intro to the song “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida and told them I was going to hit send on my draft manuscript On the Other Side.
I counted backward, 3-2-1, and shouted, “Send.”
But it didn’t send.
Still recording, I laughed out loud when I realized in my excitement of the momentous occasion I forgot to put my editor’s email address in the “to” line. I added it, replayed the “Good Feeling” intro for them, counted 3-2-1 again, and hit send. I read out loud “This message has been sent” and shouted
“Whooohoooo Ladies! I did it!!! I did it, Ladies! I did it!”
It was an emotional moment for me taking another step towards publishing my book mainly because I never wanted to write this book in the first place. (I will share more about that in a future update.)
But also because I was pausing to celebrate the moment. In the past, I would have just hit send and moved onto the next to-do item. Thank goodness I have fantastic friends that encouraged me to celebrate each milestone of this journey!! I am learning it’s essential to do.
The next morning I met with Cole, my developmental editor.
Over Zoom, he explained his role is to read my full manuscript with an eye for:
He does not get into the nitty-gritty of grammar errors. (That comes later.) He let me know it would take him 2-3 weeks to review it. He would provide me with comments on my manuscript as well as a letter pointing out issues and strategies to address them.
Our call concluded, and my waiting period began.
Read book update #6 to find out what my book goals are, hear about what I had to let go of, as well as my discomfort in waiting for my editor’s response…