Memoir Milestones – Finishing My Book
After graduating from law school, I set out on a raft into the ocean… Or close enough, I set out to write a memoir.
I wanted to open people’s hearts to narcolepsy. I’d studied the challenges facing people with narcolepsy while in law school – laws, regulations, policies, procedures, politics. I felt that a personal story needed to be told. Narcolepsy was hard, but it wasn’t boring. So I waved good-bye to normalcy and started writing…
I knew there would be waves and stormy weather in these uncharted waters. I knew my statistical chances of securing a publishing deal were about as good as winning the lottery.
I clung tightly to my creative non-fiction background and my fighting spirit. I’m known to be more passionate than others deem reasonable or rational.
I slowly paddled my way into the literary world. I gave up my personal privacy about narcolepsy knowing that I could be discriminated against for the rest of my life. My father was an employment lawyer so I knew full well what I was doing.
I worked to become a community leader – giving presentations with doctors and volunteering with the two narcolepsy non-profits, Narcolepsy Network and Wake Up Narcolepsy. I read every how-to book on writing a memoir, getting a literary agent, writing a book proposal and getting a publishing deal. I built an author’s website. I ran the Boston Marathon.
I secured a literary agent in NYC last year. We polished my proposal and submitted it to the top publishers. I waited on pins and needles for a year. Thirteen publishers considered it, a few editors at publishing houses fell in love with it, but ultimately, all turned it down.
At times, the process has felt overwhelming and impossible. I must admit, my mean-lean-fighting-machine has broken down at times.
Yet, I set a goal of finishing my memoir by March 2012 and I finished!
Afterwards, my mind raced ahead to other tasks. I forgot to celebrate – I forgot to stop for just one second and ride a wave. I forgot to put my feet up, have a glass of wine and share my milestone on my blog!
“Best Life Ever” Boston Herald writer and blogger, Taylor Wells recently brought a great quote to my attention: “Until further notice, celebrate everything!”
Right on, Taylor! We must remember to celebrate everything – especially ourselves. I vow to have a glass of wine tonight and not work on my computer at the same time. 🙂
I’m still at sea, not sure where I’ll turn up. I’m speaking with one last literary agent before entering another new world of self-publishing. No matter what happens, the book will be available eventually – which will be the big celebration!
For now, much remains up in the air. A good friend reflected on my situation, “Just think, if this was a book – it wouldn’t end like this.”
How ironic and true. My memoir is complete, but my journey is not. Celebrate the moment. Ever onward!
I love that quote! It is so easy to get wrapped up and forget how much joy there is to be had in this short life we are given.. Thanks for the reminder.. and please find me to share that glass of wine with you.. 🙂
can't wait to read your book!
That's awesome, Julie!
I was diagnosed with narcolepsy last week and am glad that I found your blog.
I think it's great that you decided not to practice law and follow your lifelong passion of writing (mine too!), but I have to ask…what do you do for health insurance? I have a couple autoimmune disease, and not working full-time is not an option.
Congratulations, Julie! This is a huge milestone in your life!
Wow Jules – You really completed a massive goal! I'm so proud of you.