Anatomy of My Writing Nook
I wrote this blog post back in February of 2019 about missing being the creatively courageous girl I used to be and how “I want to start writing creative nonfiction essays again…”
After I wrote that, I did start writing creative nonfiction again. I wrote like three essays in the span of a month just for fun. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but they felt like they wanted to be written. And then I thought maybe if I keep on writing, this could be a book or something. So I kept writing. I wanted to complete a manuscript. I had a bunch of vacation time saved up from my job so I took three whole weeks off of work in November of 2019 as a staycation/writer’s retreat and I wrote around 300-500 words a day and I finished the first draft of my manuscript. It was like 66,000 words or something. I was so happy. I’d actually finished something.
This was the first draft of the manuscript I had printed from FedEx so I could hold it and read it and mark it up to revise into a second draft. I had my friend Kelsey read it and she said that she liked it. And she also had a lot of great feedback on how I could make it better. Then came the third draft. I was feeling really good about it so I took it to a manuscript consultant who I thought could help me get through one more draft and then I could send it out and find an agent. I paid her $1800 and she told me that it was too weird and that I was too close to my trauma and maybe and too young and maybe I should wait until I’m fifty to write a memoir.
The things she said really fucked me up and I didn’t touch my manuscript for months. But then I thought maybe she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and she doesn’t get what I’m trying to do so maybe I just need to make it even weirder so it was clear just what I was trying to do. So I revised it, I made it weirder. And I found a new manuscript consultant. Her name is Linda Barsi and I’d been watching her YouTube videos on writing and creative life for years and years and she had just started a business where she teaches writing and coaches writers so I reached out to her and sent her a sample of my work and she understood it and she said that I could definitely be weirder.
She is a genius and she helped me make my manuscript a lot better. She said that the mean manuscript lady was wrong and that I was a master storyteller and that I was close to my trauma in the best way and that if I could write something like that then I was not too young. She told me I could start querying today, seriously.
This week I finally sent out my first three query letters to literary agents. But this whole time I’ve been scared that no one will like it or get it or want it. And feeling sad that maybe I’ll never get published. And wondering if I should self-publish it and feeling bad and embarrassed that I might have to self-publish it because no one wanted it and maybe it would be less legitimate and no one would even read it or like it if I did.
Then one day last week I was thinking how maybe self-publishing wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Because of how close personal this book is to me, and how weird it is and how punk rock it is. And I could make it look exactly how I want it to. And collaborate with cool people to design it.
I thought about all the cool punk rock things I used to do, like blog for no reason. I started missing it, so I looked through this blog which I started a couple of years ago because I missed old school blogging. So I decided to write a blog post. And then I found that blog post I wrote from February 2019 and realized something. That full quote from earlier, it read “I want to start writing creative nonfiction essays again and self-publish them like a lo-fi ho.”
I wanted to self-publish even back then, before I knew this was going to be a full-length manuscript. And now I feel validated by my old self and think that I should definitely self-publish this book.
So that’s coming. I’ll tell you all about it.
Different drafts the manuscript has gone through. And this isn’t even all the drafts!