Shipped draft to my editor

Whew!

Even though my manuscript draft likely needs substantial developmental edits, it felt great to ship it out today.

About two weeks ago I got a strong impulse to find an editor. A couple of friends had volunteered to read the draft, but I realized after I had a few friends read the introduction the first time, that I really needed to have someone with experience to help me edit. I got great feedback, but it was not detailed enough to make decisions on the overall book.

About 15 years ago I finished the draft of my master’s thesis. It was only 40 pages, and it nearly killed me to write! I sometimes tell the story that it cost me my first marriage, my home and my job. But that’s probably an exaggeration. Just my marriage and my home then… 😉

This time around the book will likely be 110-130 pages. All in all, it’s a short book. But still, the number of decisions it takes to complete a project like this felt overwhelming to me. So I decided I would hire someone to professionally edit given that I am self publishing this time. Even if it costs me something, I want to spare my reader too much wandering from the main point.

So I posted a little ad on LinkedIn on September 10th for a freelance editor and in 2 hours I had 8 applications! Only two of the prospects actually read the posting carefully enough to see that I asked them to email me if they were interested. She reached out to ask about the budget and I told her I have no idea what I’m doing. But her quote (per word per round of editing) sounded very reasonable!

We decided on a small test project (an article for LinkedIn on the Shapes We Ask of Our Bodies) and I sent her $50 via Venmo for some accountability on that project. She gave me a wonderful edit and quick turnaround on that one. I was so happy, I Venmo’d about half of what I expected the next edit to cost me just to give myself the accountability to get it done by a week later.

So now my self-imposed deadline has been met. I expect I will also work with her on a second edit for line and copy editing and possibly a third for the proofread as well.

My relief is palpable. Nobody has read the entire thing, but I am confident that with her compassionate surgery on this project, it will turn out so much better.

Question to you: If you write books, do you work with an editor? Why or why not? And how did you find them?

Cheers,

Cristy

P.S. If you want to work with someone for an article or book edit, check out Kay Grey’s website. It may have been her amazing shot of her bookshelves that sold me… anyone that reads that much and has already improved my work is a great find. I just hope she doesn’t find the book-length project to be too scattered. I want to be worthy of the editor’s time!

Our writing helpers

Yes, this is a gratuitious cat photo. Willy decided in my hyper-focused state this morning that it would be extra important for him to be present in my work. I gave him some extra love and assured him that his contribution is appreciated.

In other news, I met with the friend who I hope will work on the cover art for this book and she seems excited to work with me! So I am happy about that, and we are both figuring out these details together. It’s fun to be working with people we really enjoy.

Hope your summer projects are going well!

Cheers,

Cristy

P.S. For more info on the book or if you want to support this self-publishing endeavor by pre-ordering, see this link.

On ISBN numbers and self-publishing

Hello Friends,

I write this post after researching ISBN numbers this week and getting jazzed about that process. I will likely go via the self-publishing route for my first book. I am not patient enough to wait until I find an agent or a publisher. I want to get my ideas out into the world, and my intuition tells me that it’s my second (or third) book that will make a bigger splash in the world, not this one. So while I take it seriously, I am not indulging in perfectionism, but rather taking steps each week to keep momentum.

This first book has been an exercise in daily self-discipline for me, in working in short, focused “bursts” of 25 minutes in the morning with a 5 minute break in between. Sometimes when I’m really inspired, I go for a third round. It is mentally taxing but also incredibly rewarding to watch this book take shape while also tending to other aspects of my life.

Yesterday I decided to play around with cover art and to update the tagline. It’s still a work in progress of course, and I aim to complete and release the book in October of 2021. I was playing with Canva in order to see a mock up of the cover, and I realized how empowering it is that these days we have the means to produce our work in this way. The art is not final, and I hope to work with a friend who is an artist to do the eventual design, but it sure helped me visualize to create a mock-up!

It was not too long ago that this sort of idea sharing was the province of a few, and now we have ways to introduce others to our brand of discourse. So I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for that. To all of you who write here on blogs, or get to put your ideas in the world: Isn’t it grand that we live in a time where this is possible?

What’s your next creative project? When do you plan to be bravel and release it into the world?

Cheers,

Cristy

P.S. I actually sold the first copy of my book yesterday to a client who pre-ordered it! That was a shock. But it just goes to show you that you really must be ready to receive and to create the means to do this…

Starting the query journey

Hi Friends,

I hope you are well and enjoying the glorious month of May! Last week I reached out to my networks to ask for a few people who are willing to read my query letter draft before I start reaching out to agents.

When I began researching agents via QueryTracker, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few prospects that seem like a fit for my manuscript. I looked on Manuscript Wish List for more information and got very excited. So I set about researching how to write a query letter.

I am curious about the “hook” and wish I could read examples of others’ winning query letters. If any of you writers out there have advice, I am open to your advice!

Cheers & happy writing,

Cristy

P.S. I have received both of my vaccine shots! So excited to be able to get out and about again, though this introvert will be pacing herself. Wishing you health and wellbeing for the season ahead.

Book title ideas – your feedback?

Hi Friends,

It has been some time since posted here. I hope y’all are well and are enjoying the return of Spring (for those in the northern hemisphere). I am excited that I have been making progress on drafting my first book. I am writing to help college educated bicultural Latina women own their strengths, gain confidence and release limiting beliefs so they can lead from a place of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Had to do this. Why not? Designing silly book covers is a lot more fun than editing the rough draft!

There are a lot of personal stories in the book. I am connecting some of the lessons of my experience while leading an international reseach division at a large medical device company, and also life lessons as a light skinned woman of Mexican descent. I am playing around with 3-5 working titles and subtitles. I wonder if you can take a look at the 3 below and let me know if any of them seem particularly catchy to you.

We Defy Definition – Thriving as a bicultural woman in pandemic era. 
White Mexican(a) – Out of the shadows and into the spotlight. 
Feminista in bureaucrazy – Leading in places that need you without losing your mind. 

This last one gets me to imagine a funny cover that gave me a giggle…

Many thanks in advance. It is vulnerable to put it out there that I am writing my first book. But I expect the WordPress crowd will be supportive.

Much love to you all and happy Spring!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Quiet places (and my noisy mind)

I transport myself to a quiet place in nature, not necessarily truly quiet, but a place that calms my mind. Listening to the sound of flowing water, my nervous system feels immediately soothed.

I have often had a “noisy” mind, a busy mind, an exuberant and thoughtful (also thought-full) mind. I have been rewarded for this in many ways. And this over-active mind is also a source of suffering all too often.

Learning to calm myself through yoga, running or dance and through journaling, has helped to slow the racing thoughts. I sometimes forget these practices, like anyone, when my mind becomes triggered by a painful thought. At those times, I feel myself bracing and going into “defense” mode, constricting and pushing back.

A video of my favorite quiet place in nature (in Schroeder, MN).

When I can take a breath or two and recognize that I’m not actually under attack by anything physical, and I’m responding to a painful thought or belief, I can allow my emotional response without reacting.

I keep training myself to do this, and re-training myself. It’s a lifelong journey, it seems. And maybe that’s what it means to be human, this acknowledgement of unhealed wounds that need tending and self-compassion. We may realize intellectually that they are no longer threats, and yet they still activate a primal place within our nervous system.

When they trigger fear or sadness or another painful emotion, there is a cascade of “stories” that usually follows (for me). And then that feedback loop can lead to even more painful thoughts. I bring myself back again to my physical sensations, my senses both internal and external, and re-ground myself.

The noisy mind is still there. And now I access a place where the “watcher” can lovingly and compassionately see the pattern, and offer comfort. Nothing has gone wrong. This is what minds do, generate thoughts like bubbles in a stream. They are not necessarily true, particularly the painful ones.

Stepping back, I access that bubbling stream knowing all is well. A bit of distance, a bit of perspective, and the noisy mind calms itself.

Be well, dear readers.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com