I have to say, it was quite a jolt. A shock to my system for sure. Last month, my "to-do" list was wiped clean, and I can’t for the life of me ever remember a time when I didn’t have dozens, if not hundreds of notes mentally scribbled on it.
Most were things I want to get done in the week, month, or year. Tasks like "clean the house" or "respond to emails" never make this list. Because I don’t have to write those things down any more than I need to write down "feed the dog." They’ll all get done on schedule.
It’s fair to say my "to-do" list has been more made up of goals, not necessities like buying milk or folding the laundry. "Write a book" has been at the top of my list for years, something I always sort of shrugged at and thought, I’ll get to it. Someday. Well, over the course of the last year, I got to it. Finally. And now I have absolutely no idea what to do with it. I never put "publish a book" or "find a book agent" or anything of the sort on that "to-do" list. Originally when I set out on this journey all I wanted to do was write a book, and I didn’t care if my mom was the only person who read it. Now, after pouring a year of my life into it, I’m kind of thinking I want a book jacket and a contract.
To be more accurate, this book didn’t take a full year of my life. It did if you look at the calendar I suppose. One day in December of 2014, I sat down and wrote 10,000 words. Then I didn’t touch the thing until this past November. And when I picked it back up, I basically gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome. For three weeks I wrote my face off and finished it last month. So yes, it took a year of my life, but I took an 11-month break.
The break was largely due to a boy who I liked way too much. I met him right after the 10,000 words were written and pretty much got lost in the relationship and devoted every free minute to fixing him. An impossible task it turns out. Six months later we broke up and I was too heartbroken to consider writing more. So the moral of that story is, don’t start or end a relationship if you’re working under a deadline.
Anyway, now I have this book, and a massive "NOW WHAT?" screaming at me every day. I’ve done some research, and it’s only confused me more.
Some say I have to get a book agent. Others insist self-publishing is the way to go. Those who know what it’s about tell me to forget the book thing, it should be a movie. Then they tell me I have to rewrite it as a screenplay. And still others have suggested I just network and let it happen.
None of which helps when you’re type A+ and need a detailed plan to move forward. I want something concrete on that "to-do" list of mine. I can get there if I know the direction I’m supposed to take, but when you’re pointed down several different roads, getting to the destination gets overwhelming. And it seems way more enjoyable to just pull over at the first exit and order a beer at Applebee’s.
The blankness of my original "to-do" list was very short lived. I basically typed "The End" in my book, and panicked. I clearly need to add something to it and move this project along. I just don’t know where to begin or who to listen to.
It’s safe to say I have gotten a little ahead of myself in the process, too. I don’t have my Oscars speech written for Best Adapted Screenplay or anything, but I do have the actors picked out. I probably ought to have the book proofed before I start contacting Jon Hamm.
And I still have to answer: Now what?
Who knew writing a book would be the easy part?
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of a rescued Dalmatian named Stanley.
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Judy Horwitz writes in a guest editorial that Summit County voters must continue to support a vital source of funding for the area’s arts and culture institutions.