I had a weekend unlike any that I’ve had in a very long time. At least for 1 ½ years in fact. I worked as usual on Saturday, as I do work 6 days a week with my clients. I wasn’t on tour though, and I didn’t have any family visiting me. But that is not what was different.
No, there was something that felt so incredibly different about this weekend that I almost hardly knew what to do with myself (!). It is not that I had so much free time. Or that I did anything so unusual. I had dinner with a friend visiting from NY, I went to my meditation center, I took a long walk along the beach, etc.
The difference was that I did not have to work on my book anymore. That’s right- I turned it in last week. For over a year I have been writing it, and six months prior to that working on its proposal and planning its structure. Think back to writing a long term paper- as long as 20-30 pages or more. Unlike a test, which is quickly finished in a set number or time (for better or worse), a term paper can be rewritten and worked on for infinite amounts of time. There is always something “essential” to add, another study to quote or reference, or a new way to restructure a sentence. Well imagine that term paper is 300 pages, which is about as long my book ended up being. Now you start to get the idea!
There were untold writing deadlines and edits. Countless hundreds of hours writing and rewriting each sentence, section and chapter, editing to cut down, editing before page layout, and editing from page layout to proof reading, etc…but finally, last week it all came to an abrupt end. I will not be seeing my baby again until I see it as a fully bound and completed book! I admit it was a bit hard to let go. I read it not 1, not 2 but 3 more times before Fed Ex-ing it (yes I did physically kiss and hug the manuscript) off to NY to my publishing house. In the past, there was always a tiny bit of relief that I did not have to write or edit for at least a little while when I handed it off in each draft, but then I would usually run to do more research or plan more.
But not this time. It was the end, and there is nothing for me to work on anymore. I can also sit back with the satisfaction of knowing that I wrote every word myself, without a ghost writer or research assistant. Not to mention (okay I’ll give myself a itty bitty pat on the back), that I wrote the entire book on my laptop while I worked and traveled full time with clients as their nutritionist.
I am sorry to pontificate. You must forgive me that I’m not trying to be prideful in any sense, but rather share with you as a friend in my joy. Now back to the point: I no longer have that nagging “term paper” feeling, where in the back of my head I always felt that I could have been working or doing something to better the project.
The first real thing I did to celebrate was go to Barnes & Nobles and buy a novel. I haven’t read a novel just to read a novel well again, probably over a year and a half. All my reading efforts were directed towards nutrition-related writings. I bought The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo on Friday night, and finished it this (Sunday) morning. It was a fun and entertaining read, not very difficult from a literary point of view but exactly what I needed.
I enlisted the help of Sarah, my editor at my publishing house, who I now consider a dear friend after all these months of working together, to come up with some more book recommendations. Freedom! Reading about anything, just to read! (By the way I think my next book will be Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. I loved The Namesake.)
I feel so free. I had read my book so many times over so many drafts that I had begun to memorize certain sections, even though the manuscript was a few hundred pages. I would wake up sometimes in the night, and write on a whim from 1:00- 4:00 in the morning. On the weekends the manuscript would sit on my desk in a neat pile staring at me, a physical yet silent reminder that I could go out and practice yoga and do fun things, but I had better not ignore it for too long. It constantly demanded of me, from the back of my mind, that I was obligated to keep working at it.
I did write it with great care and I humbly hope that the information will really help people. (On a separate note- stay tuned for pre-sales soon! I am excited for you to read it.)
So yes, reading novels and fun books, more time to do yoga, more time for friends (I had to turn down so many events and get-togethers in honor of you know what)…maybe I’ll actually watch more than 2 movies this year, which seems to have been the average over the past few years. I do mean of course, fully produced films rather than watching them get made on set. :)