Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diary of a Writer: Sweet Caroline & Helping Others Pt 2

... So there I am. Zombied on a Sunday afternoon, knots in my stomach, talking to Susie Warren on the phone.

"Send it to me," she says.

"What? My manuscript?"  Gulp. It's horrible. She'll be the first to see I can't write. But I was desperate. I emailed it. Oh, praise the Lord for email, seriously!

She called me an hour later. The book was good. I just needed some direction. By later afternoon, she returned my first chapter, rewritten. No small feat to do with someone else's manuscript.

I got the gist and feel of what she was telling me and started my own rewrite that night.

By Monday I'd gotten some sleep and was feeling a bit more hopeful. Even excited. I could do this!!

With Susan May Warren Feb 2012
I never let up in my prayers and hope in the Lord. I'm a bit of an optimist, a dreamer, so I thought, "I can think it stinks but my editor might love it."

By now you're wondering why I didn't ask for an extension.

Because, I don't like missing a deadline. I wanted a reputation as being a solid author who turned her work in on time.

And there was no reason for me to ask for an extension. I had plenty of time to write the book.

Also, my editor was pregnant and a month away from maternity leave. If I asked for a week's extension, she might have had time to get to my manuscript before she had her baby, but maybe not.

On top of that, Hubby and I were heading off to NY with a worship team to do a mini conference. So I was traveling the first week of March.

Any extension request would have to be for 3-4 weeks and for sure my editor would be spending time with her new baby, not mine. :)

Besides, asking for a few extra days, even a week isn't so bad, but three or four weeks? No, I couldn't do it.

Of this I was confident, I could fix whatever was wrong with the manuscript after a substantive edit. I'd rather turn a book in on time then roll up my sleeves to perfect it after wise input and feedback.

Tuesday I took a short break to meet author friend's Davis Bunn and Mark Mynheir for coffee and Barnes and Noble. I still had a lot of rewriting to do by Thursday's deadline, but hanging with author friends would inspire me. And I figured I could stretch my deadline by one day to Friday.

When I returned home that afternoon, I got my second miracle. The first was Susie's help and invaluable input. The second was an email from my editor.

Out of the blue she wrote that they'd decided to put me on a 9 month release schedule and therefore I didn't have to turn in Sweet Caroline until May 25th.

I was ecstatic. I had three extra months. Three! Months! Forget the extended deadline and release. Forget my editor would be out on maternity leave and not read my manuscript. Forget the delay in payment. I had three months!

Wahoooo! Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus!

Believe it or not, I took all of March off. I just needed some distance. But I worked hard April and May, turned the book in on time to the lovely Leslie Peterson substituting for Ami McConnell.

Sweet Caroline went on to win ACFW Book of the Year and First Place in Sweet Romance for an RWA contest.

Now here's why I think the delayed release notice was a miracle. Later that fall as I was writing Love Starts With Elle, I got an email from my editor, checking in, seeing how I was doing with Elle's story.

"It's due December 1st, right?" she wrote.

My heart stopped. No, March 1st. We were on a 9 month schedule, weren't we? I remembered reading the new deadlines in an email, didn't I. But who knows... I might have made it up in my head. LOL.

Yet Elle was set to release six months after Caroline. Which yay, I liked being back on a six month release schedule but it meant Elle had to be turned in much sooner! We compromised on Feb 1. A more generous compromise to me than to them, which I was grateful.

I'll have to blog about that journey next. Because when I hit send on Love Starts with Elle, I wept. Wept! For sure, for sure! this was the end of my writing career. Ami would know: Hack!

But six books later, I'm still here. God is sooo amazing to keep me on the journey. I've got some good insight from Him on this writing thing to share too.

Stay tuned....


Julie Jarnagin said...

Thanks for posting this. Sometimes I envision other writers sitting happily at their computers, loving every word they write, while my writing process looks more like a death match. It's great to know even amazing writers like you go through the same kinds of doubts and fears. This business isn't for wimps :)

PatriciaW said...

This is so good. I'm hooked. Can't wait for next installment of The Harrowing Tale of the Hauck. ;-)

Rachel Hauck said...

Julie, hoping to help authors realize they are not alone! But we don't have to stay in a place of insecurity! Thanks for your kind words.

Patricia, lol. The continuing saga, eh? XO!


wanderer said...

I tried to send you a message on your contact page and keep getting an error message. I wanted to compliment you on The Wedding Dress. ;)