There was a saying when I was in film school that we used to describe the nature of set life…
“It’s a lot of hurry up and wait.”
While a grip gets the lights set up, an actor waits on the sofa reading lines. While the boom operator is recording room tone, the PAs have to stand still, almost holding their breath. As each individual department hurries to complete their task, another department is left waiting for their moment. Every role becomes its own vital verse in the song of the final film.
Turns out that was one of those college things that I didn’t realize until very recently applied beyond the campus. So here I am, nearly two decades into an entirely unrelated endeavor, where I find myself once again in the throes of hurrying up and waiting. To be honest, it sometimes feels like I am playing both Hamilton AND Burr—I’m stuck in a cycle of “writing like I’m running out of time” and “standing still and lying in wait”.
I’m talking of course about my publishing journey with my YA book, STILL THE STARS—the space fantasy novel in verse that I have been actively working on for the last six years. But as those of you who have been around a while will know, STILL THE STARS goes back much further than that. It was the very first book I got the idea for as a teenager.
Which is why I am excited to share here first that my story and I crossed a new threshold this month.
What threshold, you might ask? 👀 Well, because publishing be like that sometimes, I can’t provide a concrete answer to that juuuuust yet. Because even as I am hurrying to ready certain things for this new phase, there are other parts of the process where I’m still waiting for That Email That Might Change My Life™️.
I know this is entry is turning out to be very vague, but I have felt fit to burst with excitement lately and just had to funnel my energy into something, even if I can’t share specifics. Because the truth is, so much of my publishing journey has felt terribly lonely. I won’t speak for the experiences of others, but my own novel writing road was paved night after night, mending plot holes, writing and rewriting and strategizing by myself in dark rooms, with no one around to share those in-the-moment-feels that sometimes get overwhelming.
Now don’t get me wrong—I’ve been blessed with remarkable friends and guides by my side, encouraging me beyond what I could ever believe I deserve. They have been there for me every step, and steadied me all the days I felt I might fall and never get back up. But still, there were some burdens they couldn’t carry for me.
They could not hold back the barrage of relentless rejections; each passing agent’s email like an arrow piercing both my inbox and my dreams. It often felt as if no amount of my friends whispered hopes could defeat the shouting fears that thrummed inside of me saying, “you aren’t ready, and you might never be…”
Then something happened when I finished the latest draft, which for those who’ve lost count is the sixth! In my last post from February, I wrote that it was starting to feel like the book was finally close to where I wanted it to be. And as I type this, that fully completed revised draft now sits in a gigantic binder on my desk next to me, completed.
When I think about that draft, I can say with confidence; this right here is the shit I have been working towards.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the journey’s far from over. Even in its latest iteration, my book still needs a keen editor’s eye to take it all out to the next level, and will require just the right team of folks to bring it to life. But my God, I am just so damn proud of the ground Piper stands sure on now. I’m proud of how much hope I managed to hold onto, even in the face of six years of an industry telling me no, no, and more no.
So I’ve decided, in a way, that I’m taking back the reins. Grabbing the helm. Seizing the day. Whatever your preferred moving forward metaphor, that’s where I’ll be.
I am saying yes to myself. I am finally holding this manuscript in my hands and resting in the knowledge that I have taken it as far as I can on my own.
And the next part of the journey that I will be announcing soon? It is going to be all about shoving off into thrilling, uncharted waters. At last, I’m listening to the voice inside me that’s whispering, “you’ve waited long enough.” 🥰