I’M GETTING A BOOK PUBLISHED!!!!
That’s right! The one thing I’ve been trying to do since….ever….literally ever….has finally happened. It was the first dream I had of being something that I didn’t already see the women in my family do. When I was really little, I wanted to be a Mommy or a Nurse, because my Godmother was a nurse and my mom stayed home, so it took me awhile to realize that girls could do other things (although Boyfriend is a Nurse and my sister is a Mommy and both things are far more noble and take far more smarts than writing a book–just needed to make that clear). But my first desired career choice, before 1,000 other things I tried and quit, was being an author. In middle school, I scribbled my name over and over pretending to sign copies of my famous-famous book. A nasty girl made fun of me for a.) being pubescently chunky which I could not control and b.) for practicing autographs. If you, nasty girl, are reading this I’d like take this opportunity to say, a.) HA! All that practice is coming to good use. b.) I’ve seen you on Facebook. I grew into my bod but you still have rat-face so HA AGAIN! c.) Just kidding. I truly am sorry you went through so much pain and suffering in your seriously messed-up childhood which probably what influenced you into being that total brat-child (Got the low-down later from a mutual friend). Hope you found a therapist and yoga.
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been–writing frantically in the hours I used to use blogging. My book Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess will be released by Weiser Books in February, 2015!
Awhile ago, Boyfriend and I met Neil Gaiman in a freak-accident-meeting at the New Haven train station when he was dropping off Amanda Palmer (his wife), who was on her way to NYC to do a show for the Mermaid Parade, which makes her even more of a saint in my eyes than ever. We bought her coffee because if you want to talk to your super-famous idols, offer them Dunkin’ Donuts. They are the nicest people in the whole world. Neil gave me solid advice: “Just keep writing.” It’s the advice I needed to get ten years ago when I would soak up his short stories, praying his brilliance would penetrate my brain and I’d suddenly be able to write like him. What no one told me–or at least, I simply couldn’t accept–was that writing is like learning a musical instrument. It takes years and years of painstaking practice.
I don’t know how to write a book. This is my first book. I don’t know what I’m doing. I really don’t. But I’m sure there are other people out there who are equally as clueless as I am–we’re only satisfied editor apart. I guess in the end, you only have to prove to one person who happens to be attached to the publishing house that your work is worth publishing. I’m sitting next to my signed contract and I’m afraid to put it away lest the cats eat it or it evaporates or I suddenly wake up and I’m 22 again with less of a clue and far less money. I just spent part of the advance on a present for a certain someone (THEY HAVE NO IDEA!!!) and the rest went to never-ending kitty bills, so I sure as shit better come up with something. The following is a sort of advice list you’d probably be better off ignoring. If you don’t ignore it, it’ll probably make you feel at least a little bit better about your own aimless search for your dream–which has got to be less aimless than mine:
HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED
BY COURTNEY WEBER
AKA THE COCO WITCH
- Write in journals. Write all the time. Record all dreams, psychic premonitions–especially ones where you dream about your ex at the college coffee house and then run into him at the college coffee house the next day. SYNCHRONICITY AND MAGICK IS REAL!!!
-Write short stories. Write lots of short stories. Write short stories about that same ex you keep running into in the coffee house, especially stories in which you turn into a sorceress and shoot flaming tar out of your wand at him and he turns into an ostrich. Your fiction teacher will think it’s cute but rather contrived.
-Get so angry about being called contrived that you dust off that book of spells you had as a teen-witch, do one for creativity and swear to the Goddess Brigid that you’ll dedicate a whole book to Her if She’ll help you show that fiction teacher.
-Write a story that teacher declares “Wonderful,” but don’t get too mad when she politely asks you something about where “That Talent” came from.
-Decide your true calling is writing, not whatever you majored in. Move to extremely large, extremely expensive city. Lose several apartments and lots of possessions and keep trying to write. Forget the promise to the Goddess (NOT RECOMMENDED) and spend the next ten years wondering why you can’t finish any books you try to write on anything.
-Remember that you were supposed to write a book about that Goddess.
-Create a distraction. Apply for grad school.
-Enjoy grad school! Meet lots of people much smarter than you who challenge you to make your writing so much better! Scribble snippets for book you plan to write when you need a break from writing super-smart-sounding papers.
-Discover that Grad School is not going to work out because a.) the grad school was not quite so compatible with a full time worker’s schedule as they initially promised and b.) you refuses to quit working because you are innately aware that this degree will never pay itself off and someone has to pay for it. Cry a lot in all the offices as writer withdraws from school. Since they let you keep your library card, go to dark, dusty area of library and check out a book about said Celtic Goddess to pass the time until it’s okay to re-enroll. Begin research.
-Get up at 5:00 a.m. as many mornings as you can (like, twice a week), and blare Tori Amos “Fearlessness” for inspiration and because writing a book is scary–”Would you be better off doing ANYTHING else with your time???”
-Never re-enroll in grad school. Cry more about it but be secretly glad for sleep and social life. Continue writing because you might as well do something with the free time you’ve rediscovered.
-Create another distraction. Occupy Wall Street.
-Go do a research trip with one of your best friends, although it turns into less of a research trip and more of a skipping-through-meadows-and-pubs-and-crawling-over-barbed-fences-inspecting-tombs-and-churches-sure-it’s-research kind of trip.
-Create another distraction. Change jobs.
-Decide moving weekend is the right time to finish book proposal. Write frantically on laptop from the UHaul cab. God, you’re a psycho.
-Get kind rejection letter from the first editor, who constructively points out the problems with your manuscript–which are all the same problems your college fiction teacher said you had before that one miraculous story which must have been a Chernobyl mutation of your brain and it will never happen again. Cry more than ever. Go to therapy and throw something at the wall, preferably something expensive and tough to replace–like your glasses.
-Go home and explain to Boyfriend that you’re giving up all extra-curricular causes and the world will just have to save itself. This book means a lot to you and you want to see it thrive.
-Wait. Check your email. The other editor likes the manuscript and wants to see more.
-Send more. Play the waiting game all summer. Blog.
-Hear from editor–they’ll let you know tomorrow.
-Cry on couch and tell Boyfriend you’re not good enough to do this. He disagrees.
-Write and write and write and write.
-Blog when you get stuck a bit. Like I am, right now.
That’s about it! See? Not great advice, but it might have been kind of helpful for me to get at one time. Maybe it’ll be helpful for you.
Again, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never written a whole book and this is all thoroughly uncharted for me. I feel like I did when I jumped off the 20-foot dock into the lake at our last family reunion. The fall was maybe 1.5 seconds long–just enough for your brain to turn the thought: “Hey look I’m falling…OH SHIT I’M FALLING!” When I would be about halfway to the water, I’d change my mind and would try to climb back up the air to the dock, which never worked (because of gravity and stuff) and would enter the water with flailing limbs and a freaked face and I’m so glad my sister and brother-in-law don’t bring their cameras into bodies of water.
I’m doing that now with the book. I jumped and OH SHIT I HAVE TO FINISH THE FUCKER. I don’t have the stupid-procrastination-luxury of creating more distractions and I’m happy that I don’t–those things just left me more unhappy. Just like I’d be thrilled with the adrenaline rush of having hit the water, I’ll be happy and thrilled when it’s done. But between now and the final submission-splash, I’ll be flailing inside. Expect fewer, but stranger, blog posts.
I’m leading a Magickal Ireland Tour in August, of 2014. Sacred Sites, Spiritual teachers, incredible people, a tour geared for Magickal People of all kinds in the Magickal land of Eire! Deposits now being accepted. Please see information at this link!