Every book has a story. The idea for Move the Needle came soon after we started Storia Editing and Publishing. My collaborators and I are involved in different areas of writing, editing, and publishing, but had never put together a book as a team. That thought woke me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I couldn't imagine learning to fly this plane in the air with an author client as our first passenger. We needed a book. As it turned out, I needed to write a book.
The idea for a founder's story had been knocking around in my head for a couple of months, but I thought it might be a few blog posts, or maybe some journal entries. I had been meeting virtually with a wonderful therapist and during one of our sessions she listened as I complained about feeling like I wasn't doing enough to ensure that Rising Village could survive the pandemic. She reminded me (for the umpteenth time) that some things are out of our control. We were meeting virtually, and she leaned a little closer to her screen and said, "You need to go back and think about all that's happened since you started this nonprofit. It's been good, but you insist on telling yourself a different story."
As I lay in my cold sweat that night, I decided to write the story of my time with Rising Village and put it between the covers of a book. Unfortunately, that thought did nothing to ease my panic. Somewhere along the way, I lost the courage of my childhood self when it comes to creativity. As a child, I had no fear of showing my creative pursuits to willing audiences. I made my parents, teachers, and friends read my stories and waited for applause. As an adult, writing for publication is up there with ski lifts and dark alleys - I try to avoid both, and my hands sweat when I'm forced to endure either. I do it anyway because nothing makes me feel better than finishing a piece of writing and knowing that actual humans might read it. Weird, I know.
I told the Storia freelancers I would write a book since we needed a portfolio and I love a tight deadline assignment. No problem. But as soon as I sat down to outline the book, the inner tyrant in me was unleashed. If you've started any creative pursuit, maybe you've heard the tyrant voice list the reasons you should stop immediately - or not start at all. Depending on where you are most vulnerable, this list might include:
You aren't up to the task.
It's a waste of your time.
No one will like it.
This is too risky.
And my favorite...
Who do you think you are?
It's that last one that gets me every time. In a writing session I attended once, the brilliant writer Susan Orlean told us to put a sticky note on our computers that says, "It's my story, and I have a right to tell it." So I did that, and it drowned out the tyrant's voice a little, but it didn't help with the procrastination. In the writing realm, I'm a professional at procrastinating. On writing days, I sit down at my desk to pound out a few hundred words, but inevitably, I create interruptions for myself. Suddenly, I need to check the status of an Amazon order, find a new writing podcast to follow, water plants, organize desktop folders, file my nails. It's amazing how imperative these things become when I'm writing. I don't have a good way to fight procrastination, except to realize at the moment what I'm doing is battling fear and be gentle with myself. Some days, this doesn't work, and I get a ton of useless tasks checked off my list. But other days, I defeat it and get those few hundred words out of my head and onto the page.
I missed my manuscript deadline by only a couple of weeks, and the Storia team began putting the pieces together to create a book: copyediting and proofreading, cover design, interior formatting (easier said than done), converting files to ePub (maddening), uploading to retail and aggregator sites, and then, marketing. Our team brought this short and sweet memoir out into the world, and we are proud, humbled, and ready to do it again.
If you haven't purchased a copy, it's here. And it will soon be on my website, on this page, available for direct sale from me. If you have a book in you and want to indie publish, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Storia website. We'll help drown out your inner tyrant voice, and help you send your words out into the world.