Okay here it is, the announcement that I’ve been coyly dancing around. I have no idea how long this little “I have something to telll youuuu” shenanigan has gone on for, but it’s been too long. I apologize.
I so wanted to spill, but I didn’t know if I could, and then I didn’t know if I should because everyone knows that as soon as you tell everyone your fabulous news – JINX!
But, jinx be damned, I’m excited. Here we go.
Many moons ago I wrote a list consisting of small, simple things that you could do to become more eco-friendly. Because I am the opposite of concise I called it, “10 Crazy Hippie-Lady Things You Should Be Doing, But Aren’t”.
The wonderful ladies that run Skinny Scoop saw the post and suggested that I add it to their site because they offer cool list-making tools which would allow it to reach a greater audience, and offer increased opportunities for reader interaction.
I am an obedient sort of lady, so I did.
The list turned out to be pretty popular and is now sitting around almost 5000 views. Unbeknownst to me, it was also picked up and featured on Yahoo! Shine.
Then one morning last April, I received an email from Skinny Scoop. This email is one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever read. I remember sitting in my living room re-reading the few short sentences over and over again, feeling my heart leap into my throat and then running to find Adam to share the news.
“They want me to write a book!” I shrieked, barging into the bathroom.
Adam popped his head around the shower curtain and wiped water from his eyes, “What? What do you mean? Who does?”
“Ohmygod a publishing company in California emailed the people at Skinny Scoop to get in touch with me to see if I would expand on that list of hippie things and write a book, like, an eco-friendly tip book, or something, I don’t know I haven’t talked to them yet oh my god oh my GODDDD!”
I continued shrieking nonsense at him until he turned off the shower and asked me to please sit down and read him the email.
So, perched atop of the toilet in our tiny bathroom, I read Adam the email. Then I read it again. And then I went back and re-read my list to see what I had written in the first place.
Aaaaand then I changed my pants because I might have peed a little bit from all of the excitement.
After composing myself, I got in contact with the publishing company (a lovely little outfit called Viva Editions) and spoke with an editor. The deal was this: they had stumbled upon my post, loved it, and were looking for a follow it up to their popular book Lemons and Lavender . They thought that I could be it. Similar subject, different approach. Something funny and edgy and I don’t remember what else was said because I had passed out by that point.
They asked me to put together a book proposal- a table of contents outlining the scope of the book, as well as a few sample chapters, and then we’d go from there.
Cue panic-induced procrastination.
I started writing this blog with a different intent than I had with previous blogs. I, like everyone else who has the audacity to call themselves a writer, have always wanted to write a book, but I knew that the publishing industry had changed- no one simply wrote manuscripts and shopped them around anymore. People were going online, building up an audience, and then taking that audience with them when they approached publishers in order to demonstrate that there was a demand for their work, their voice.
With this in mind, I had given myself a year, one year to blog and try to build that audience and see what came of it. That’s why my header has always read “…Givin’ it away for free”. I decided that I was just going to write for free until someone thought that my words were worth something.
It’s been far longer than a year, and to be honest I sort of lost track of this goal along the way. I became immersed – as I always do – in the sheer joy of writing and community that blogs provide.
And despite having the goal of one day writing a book, I felt overwhelmed and bewildered when this opportunity presented itself. I didn’t know where to start. I felt like I was going to burst from the excitement but I was also mired in second thoughts and self-doubt. I spent far too much time listening to that insidious voice in my head, the one that snarked, “A book? How are you going to write a book?! Who the hell do you think you are?” I didn’t have a clue how to proceed.
I remember moaning to Adam, “What happens after I write the proposal? What if they say yes?”
At this point Adam gently reminded me that this worst-case scenario I had painted was, in fact, the best case scenario. “What if they say yes? If they say yes then we celebrate, that’s what!”
He was, of course, right.
I put on my big girl pants and got down to work. Over the course of a month, I wrote the proposal.
And Internets, they said yes.
THEY SAID YES!
I signed the contract just before Christmas, received the first part of my advance a few days ago.
I’m writing a motha-flippin’ BOOK! It’s going to be chock full of environmentally friendly tips and tricks, but most importantly, it’s going to be full of sass.
This isn’t the type of book that will cause you to feel bad about yourself for weeks after reading it because you are too lazy to sew your own clothing from re-purposed flour sacks. You won’t feel defeated and overwhelmed and like the whales are dying and it’s all your fault because you forgot your reusable bags in the trunk of your car- again.
This also isn’t a book that’s going to tell you to save the planet by buying a whole bunch of of new, eco-friendly crap to replace your old, un-eco friendly crap.
Finally, I can almost guarantee that even if you have never recycled a can in your life and never intend to, you will still enjoy reading it. And maybe, just maybe, my sweetly worded prose will slyly wend its way into your subconscious, borrowing deeper and deeper until one day you find yourself becoming inordinately excited by the sight of clean clothes gently fluttering on the line, and lifting your fists skyward you will shout, “Madeleeeeeine!”.
So! That’s my big news. I am full of all of the emotions. I’m excited and scared. I’m still trying to fight that self-doubting voice, trying to counter it with the worth of these words, the strength of my ambition.
I know I can do this but I also have no idea how. Or when.
I’m about halfway done, I have until May 1 to place the last comma and polish each turn of phrase until it gleams. I’m trying to ignore the fact that I also have a three-month old baby and am moving to an entirely different town, and perhaps getting a mortgage and buying a house, and oh my god seeing it all typed out like that is just- I think I’m going to- oh god, let’s just not, okay?
(What’s that thing they say about ignorance and bliss?)
Finally, I want to thank you for reading this, and all of my long-winded monologues, my short nonsensical ramblings. Thank you for scrolling through the deluge of Gus pictures and now Olive pictures, thank you for each time you clicked “like”, thank you for every supportive comment and kind email.
Thank you for giving me space to write, and thank you for reading.