I had just put Laurel down for her long nap. I prayed that she would stay asleep long enough for me to finish my Photoshop project. Lately, she’s been skimping on her morning naps.
I turned to Shawn as I furiously worked on the cover to his first book and said, “do you think that night in Granada when we went out to celebrate you finishing the writing of this book that we had any idea how much work was ahead of us?”
Celebrating the big first step – writing the novel
A firm, “No” was the response.
Four drafts and a baby later, it is done. Shawn had hoped to finish the last draft before Laurel was born – best laid plans, right? While I was pregnant last summer, I would sit sweating on the couch, reading through draft #3 and trying to provide some useful suggestions and edits. It was a fun job – reading Shawn’s writing always is – but I felt the weight of wanting to get it right on my shoulders. Even at that point, I thought we were just baby steps (pardon the pun) away from finishing. Ever the perfectionist, I had no idea what Shawn’s editorial process looked like.
Recently, our friend Kim at So Many Places finished the draft of her book, The Yellow Envelope. She talked about the challenges of pursuing one’s dream while also being a new parent. Little did I know that my own husband was taking on the same challenge.
Back when Laurel was very little, he would get up at 5am every day to wash her bottles from overnight, get her vitamin ready, make coffee, and eventually come scoop her up from my arms for a couple hours so I could get a little bit of sleep after pulling, essentially, an all-nighter. Now, I get up at 5am every day to nurse Laurel, but I do so from the comfort of our bed. I told him that he could sleep in a little longer now that the old routine isn’t of use, but he said he likes to still get things ready and feel prepared before heading off to work. I have wandered into the dining room, though, and seen him typing away at his computer.
This book thing takes dedication.
Writing a novel on the road means being willing to work anywhere, even on tiny Asian stools and tables
But when you truly love something, as he loves writing, you do it because you can’t live without it. For him, it’s like eating. It nourishes him, and it nags at him when he hasn’t done it enough.
We worked through most of Memorial Day weekend to finish this book. Oddly enough, last Memorial Day we found out I was pregnant. I had such a small part in this creation, but it’s been an amazing experience watching my husband live out his dream of being a writer. Of course, this book didn’t make him a writer, he’s always been one for as long as he’s indulged his craft – but seeing this novel come out of his years of work has been an experience in itself.
As we debated various financial aspects of this publication, I finally asked him, “do you want to know what I think?” He had already felt guilty in the past about buying Scrivener, the software he’s been using to write his novels, and even the small fee we paid for a decent guide on how to prepare a book for e-publication. The cost of the ISBN was a big, unexpectedly expensive pill to swallow. I told him, “you were all in when I was talking about my own dreams, let me do this for you.” Of course, it requires some sacrifices (our first trip “abroad” to Canada this summer, for one), but it’s worth it. And while I wish one of us had a calling for a more lucrative career, when we choose to follow a dream, isn’t it worthwhile to really be ALL in?
It’s taken three years and endless hours of hard work, but I’m proud to announce that Shawn’s first novel (hopefully the first of many), The Buchman, is now available for purchase through Amazon.
Congratulations, baby. I knew you would do it.