this is me, being contemplative
I devoted most of May and June to the sort of indulgent, naval gazing self-analysis usually reserved for early 2000’s emo music.
As I drove across the country, I wondered (aloud, to my empty car) what I should do about The Book Thing. In Idaho, I thought I had it figured out. In California, I reconsidered. In New Mexico and New York and Kitchener, I bored every friend I saw with my concerns about The Book Thing.
See, over two years ago, I signed with a literary agent. After a year of half-hearted attempts on both our parts, I politely suggested that we see other people and promptly signed with another – significantly more impressive – literary agent.
There were big ideas and big plans and a lush, professionally designed proposal. We planned to turn the True Story series into a gorgeous gift book filled with all my best, unpublished interviews and beautiful photos.
You know, the kind of thing they sell at Urban Outfitters and museum gift stores.
The kind of book you proudly display on the coffee table or give to your Cool Aunt.
I was totally aware of all the reasons I should want to publish a book.
It would introduce my work and this blog to a whole new audience. It would open doors that I didn’t know existed. I could charge more for my services and get booked as a speaker. I’d get to live out my childhood dream of being a published author.
But all I could think of were the reasons I didn’t want to.
I’ve watched multiple friends write and publish books. I’ve seen the book-writing process totally consume their lives – frequently at the cost of their health and their relationships. I’ve ghost-written books for major publishers and worked through those merciless edits.
I don’t want to shuttle around the country on a book tour or appear on morning television in Spanx and heavy makeup. I don’t want Yes & Yes to fall apart as I spend all my time on another project. I don’t want to give up the client work I love doing or the new things that I love trying.
Rather greedily, I want to publish the best interviews myself. I want the instant gratification of your comments telling me how the story resonated with you or how it introduced you to something new.
For me, pursuing a book deal felt like exchanging money for the next two years of life.
Instead of poking around the back roads of Ontario, I’d be chained to my laptop. Instead of roller skating date nights or cabin weekends or weird new recipes, I’d live in my inbox. Instead of writing posts about how to trick people into thinking you’ve made an effort with your appearance, I’d be chasing down photo release forms.
I didn’t want that. I don’t want that.
Which is, perhaps, not a particularly inspirational conclusion. Maybe I’m taking the easy way out or I’m afraid of failure. Maybe in a few years I’ll regret this decision. Maybe my eighth grade English teacher is shaking her head right now; I’m sure my former agent is rolling his eyes.
But instead of the childhood dream I thought I wanted, I’m choosing to pursue the day-to-day reality I know I want right now. It’s equal parts scary and anti-climatic but – at least for now – it’s the right choice for me.