I participated in a team building exercise at work last week. The group of people I work with are all so different. We handle marketing and communication for the university, so as you can imagine, that takes a lot of different people. We have a closed day every month in which we have lunch together and do some sort of team building exercise. It helps us work together and take a break from the daily grind.
This time, our photographer planned the session. She is the earthy, outdoorsy-type, so we went to a climbing gym to rock climb. Did I mention that I am terrified of heights when it comes to climbing anything taller than a standard six-foot ladder? Well, long story short, I climbed a wall. It was terrifying and exhilarating when I finally reached the top. I was scared the entire time I climbed the 24-ft wall. I knew that I was safe with the rope and safety harness, but my heart was pounding. I realize, that to most people, it isn’t that big of a deal, but it was a big deal to me, and I’m proud I didn’t chicken out. (In Caroline’s Lighthouse, Brad’s fear of heights came from me.)
Two other exciting things happened last week. I have two book signings set up for Caroline’s Lighthouse. The first is Friday, March 3, from 6-9 p.m. at Dog Ear Books in Downtown Russellville. I will be among a few other featured authors at the Art Walk that evening. The crowds are usually pretty good at these events, so it will be good exposure. Some wonderful friends will be there to help me and cheer me on. The best part about these wonderful people is that they offered to help without me asking.
On Saturday, March 18, from 2-4 p.m. I will be at B Street Books, also in downtown Russellville. This is a smaller, more intimate event. I had already scheduled it and then a day later found out about the other opportunity. The most nerve-wracking part of both of these is not knowing how many books to have on hand and if anyone will show up. And then there’s talking to people and not making a fool of myself.
In other news, I am about to start round one of the editing process on Jordan’s Sister. I reached a plateau at just over 70,000 words and decided to stop with a blank chapter in the middle and an ending that isn’t quite fleshed out. The rest will come after I have put it away for a couple of weeks and gone back with fresh eyes to read the narrative and make notes where more depth is needed and change any sentences or dialogue that isn’t working. By the time I do that and add in the missing chapter and ending, I anticipate a finished novel of between 75,000 to 80,000 words.
Writing a novel is like climbing a wall in many ways. It seems impossible when you first get started, and it’s terrifying. But the sense of accomplishment and exhilaration after it’s finished is one of the best feelings in the world.
-Brandi Easterling Collins