Friday, April 20, 2018

Letters from Marilyn - Update 24

Good morning from Montana! 

I promised myself I would take one morning to write while I was on vacation, so here I am, typing away at City Brew Coffee. 

Many of you have written to inquire how I am and how the Marilyn project is going (my last update was March 25, yikes), so I'll take some time to fill you in.

If I am being 100% honest, the last 2 weeks have been rough. I had injured my hand, which came with the frustration of canceling a piano lesson and finding two vocalists a new accompanist. A former student of mine died, too young, too soon (a death I am still processing as I try to find the words to write to her family). 

Meanwhile, my current students have been especially challenging as summer vacation draws nearer. I was in technical rehearsals for our play, which was giving me some serious sleep deprivation. I woke up at 4:00AM the night before performances with the nightmare that my entire set had disappeared, no joke. During this time, a friend had mentioned an email correspondence I sent, in which I had signed off as simply "Liv." She stated that when I don't take the time to type the remaining 3 letters in my name, it is apparently a sign I am losing my marbles. Needless to say, I am going to be more mindful when sending emails from now on!

Maintaining a cheerful outlook had been a struggle, readers. For two weeks, I had to remind myself daily to be kind, to be patient, to be compassionate (note that I said "remind" - my success rate was not 100%). It's not to say it was all bad, of course - I firmly believe there are silver linings in every day! - but I had to work a little harder to find them. Those that know me best had commented that I was not my usual chipper self. I am very grateful to have had successful performances with the very best kids, some rest, and a passable amount of energy to have made it through two tough weeks.

As such, I am happy to be over 600 miles from home right now. The distance is giving me time and space to reflect, to rest, and to soothe my very exhausted heart. What's more, I get to visit one of my dearest friends who I only get to see 2-3 times a year. Things are looking up loves, and upon my return home, I hope I'll have newfound energy to move on to "what's next."

Letters from Marilyn had also been a high-stress point for me during this time. For my fellow creatives out there, you know how frustrating it can be when you don't have the time to commit to doing the things you love. I've had some writing time of course - Certainly Candid drafts, daily journaling, etc. - so it hasn't been 2 weeks of absolutely no writing, but not the writing that currently matters to me most. I also think it is tougher when you have multiple passions - between theatre, writing, piano lessons, vocalist accompaniment jobs, and so on, I have been a very busy creative bee.

Writing a book proposal is hard, and a lot of work, and easily could be a full-time job with how time consuming it is. I spent 3 hours one evening going through an 800 page writer's guide on publishers to try to narrow my market for Letters from Marilyn. I have a starting list of six publishers that accept non-agent proposals (the agent proposals is a whole other post for another day). I have started to tackle one of these six. Each publisher varies in their proposal guidelines, but the one I'm currently working on is extensive - chapter descriptions, manuscript samples, market knowledge (yes, that means I need to research my competition), a schedule for completion of the book, etc. etc. etc.

I actually called one of my friends while working on this one evening, as I am sure I was on the verge of a writer meltdown. It's been 2 years, I've done my research, I've written hundreds of drafts (again, not here on Certainly Candid), and this next step could easily take me another 2 years at this point. "All good things to those who wait, Olivia," my friend had said soothingly over the phone. 

She meant well, of course, but that platitude meant nothing to me in my worked-up mind. And do not even get me started on the risk of failure now that I am so close. When I think of the hours of my life I've invested into this project, I want it to be for something! I mean, even the pre-writing hours spent reading all 500+ letters, then copying them, then scanning them digitally, then archiving them - it is extensive. I really should have been logging the time I've spent on this.

Once this school year concludes, I'll be able to put more time into Marilyn over the summer and hope that by the end of June, I am ready to send off a few proposals. In the meantime, I will keep you updated on how it is going, and hopefully it is smooth sailing from here on out.

Thank you for staying with me readers and for reaching out, especially these past few weeks. I appreciate you. Love always.

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