Somewhere between drafting, revising, submitting and waiting, a book was created. I mean an actual, bound book with a cover and a title. And a name. An author’s name. My name. This is the are-you-kidding-I’m-freaking-out part. After 13 years, many hugs, Twizzlers and talks that included, ‘I believe in you’ and ‘just focus on the process,’ my debut book, FINDING PERFECT, is actually coming into the world. Where it will meet people who don’t eat Thanksgiving at my table and don’t know me.
For so long my focus never moved off the process. And, now, with a box about to be delivered to my door filled with galleys, my focus has moved from the journey to the actual book. And, if I am being spill-the-beans honest, I’m a blend of dreams-come-true excited and just plain old terrified. This last part was a huge surprise to me. I knew I’d be dance happy, but stomach-hurt-nervous, where did that come from? Then I realized these feelings were similar to those I had when I sent my sons off to college. I was happy for them, but as a mom, I knew the days of me knowing everyone and everything in their lives was, well, over. And, once FINDING PERFECT no longer lives only on my computer to be shared solely with my family and friends, the days of me knowing everyone that reads my story will, well, be over, too.
And that is the absolute privilege of writing. That is the dream. And, that is also where my nerves and joy unite.
I have told myself that in those moments that I promise to remember something my mom used to say, “This is the gravy of life.” While she is no longer here with me, I still hear the words in her loving and mom-knows-best voice. And, you know what, she’s right. This IS the gravy of life. This ranks as a sing-in-the-shower, dance-like-crazy moment. So, when my nerves peek through, I’ve decided to turn up the volume of Happy by Pharrell, embrace my happy, and rock out to life’s gravy moments.
Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, is coming out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, betrayal, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.