How I wrote my first book chapter and became a published author…
This time last year, for the first time in my life, I was involved in a mega writing project.
Emotions were running very high because:
- The book is about the K-Pop band, BTS and it is daunting to write about something you love so deeply and so purely. Oh wait, writing, generally, is hard!
- I was in the company of other much accomplished writers and my low self-esteem made me feel I’d fail miserably.
Added to this, while in the middle of this process — trembling to put down words, back and forth of edits, feedback and draft revisions, I was also going through what is by far the most debilitating episode of my life. I had a major reality check that shook all the foundations of my existence. I still can’t believe I made it through that phase while writing the book chapter.
But the universe has its way of planning everything no? While I was struggling to breathe on most days, as my support and blessing, came into my life a person, held my hand and brought me to the other side.
While the experience was special and scary at the same time, I see the book as a testament to the fact that I am human and every part of me is valid. I honour each part, allow it to exist as it should and keep going! The book showed me how resilient, strong and enduring I can be. I was witness to my own power to fight and rise above everything!
That is why it will always remain the grand beginning of the life I see for myself!
A year later, I am in the stage of creating something else. I am revisiting this process and sharing it here for strength and encouragement for myself to get to the end of it.
Another reason for sharing this experience is to also remind myself and show anyone who is reading this that dreams do come true, just the path may not be the same as you imagined it to be. Please believe that we can dream as we want and there is a high chance of realising them.
No dream is too small or too big.
I came back from Bhutan in December 2019. I decided to take a brief break, weigh my options and decide on doing something that is fulfilling and serves me first and then others around me. At that point, the only thing I was confident about was reporting and writing. My best talent is when I write, you can see and experience what I saw and experienced as it is. Based on this belief and my love and respect for BTS, I wanted to show the world how beautiful, progressive, pleasant, loving, kind, powerful, and caring (among other things) they are to the world. I did not feel silly or stupid for thinking this. It felt easy and doable.
I followed it up. I wrote a 5-page proposal and then wrote to their company through whichever channel I could. I saw this authorised biography to be in multiple volumes cause of the phenomenon BTS is. Then, I waited. Patiently.
Hold on to this for a bit.
On the side, I was building other things — ideating for my cute blog, my book community, reading books, doing shadow work, befriending my inner child, looking for jobs, giving interviews and getting rejected again and again and again! 😀
Then an Australian publishing company called Revolutionaries centred around and driven by the principles of BTS, which I had been following for a while, opened up some volunteering positions. I applied and got accepted as a copy editor there. It was exciting — it was all about BTS, conversations around BTS with people who love BTS — I was really happy! I copy-edited a few books that the company already published and I was settling in when Wallea Eaglehawk, the founder of the company called proposals for a new book — BTS in our words — was what she named it. The requirement (largely) was to reflect on the journey of each BTS member during 2020.
I knew, RIGHT THEN, who I had to write about and what! I quietly wrote my proposal for Min Yoongi aka Suga aka Agust D and sent it in. A small part of me expected it to get accepted but the numerous rejections that year made me doubt myself way too much. In less than a day I received a response, where Wallea called the proposal ‘wonderful’ and told me it was accepted. I love affirmative words and so, I cried! Only I know how pure, deep and so full of love the proposal was! I sincerely wanted to tell everyone how Yoongi helped me, that’s it!
Days passed and I started to write the chapter.
Writing is a lonely process and the experience I’m sure is unique for every writer.
It can consume you completely and no one can really understand or help you. You are desperate for help. What kind of help? Who knows! 😀
For me, writing is rejuvenating. It lifts my spirit. It’s like taking a deeeeep breath and inhaling fresh air! But, but, but, at that time, there was this constant, nagging voice inside my head, that kept telling me I can never ever do justice to what Yoongi is through words. (This voice is ALMOST DEAD now. I worked hard to kill it off!) Every word that came out felt off, wrong, unsuitable, useless! I felt that it was the end of my life because I was failing miserably at writing, the only thing that kept me alive all my life.
I somehow fought this voice and sent the first draft.
The voice continued having a party: the chapter sucks and your writing sucks.
Who do you think you are, that you can write about Yoongi?
You think your writing is worth being published alongside other experienced writers from all over the world?
My head was pounding! I endured it somehow and waited for a response to my draft.
After assuming the worst and beating myself up so badly, the feedback I received felt like ice cream on a sunny afternoon. It was straightforward, with pointers telling me what is expected of me for the next draft. Wallea also assigned another writer, Kate who I ended up co-writing the chapter with, to bring out the best of Yoongi in the chapter. My mind went on a roll, to confirm that I was a failure. It took some grounding to feel otherwise — that with support things can be better. That we were all trying to showcase the best of Yoongi!
In hindsight, the first draft wasn’t that bad. It required perspective and some direction. I had an editor and a co-writer to help me with that. Also, I write intuitively. The shape, form and tone that my writing has today is the result of just writing every day, looking back at it, learning, and carefully enhancing it day after day.
No formal training or guidance.
So the feedback and Katie’s writing process were a lesson I didn’t ask for.
I appreciate it so much!
Also, I specifically mention the voice in my head because I very well know the ego stories our minds are capable of creating and exaggerating. If you have PTSD or you have suffered narc abuse, it’s the worst!
The amount of strength and uplifting self-talk it takes to believe that you are not a fraud is tremendous. I am glad I was able to do that.
For this, I must thank Katie!
Kate Koncilja, the co-author of the chapter, whom I fondly call Katiee was the blessing I needed for this project. Gentle, calm, loving and so caring, it felt like she knew I was hurting and so sensitive at the time. It took very little time to understand: that is just how Katie is. By extension, Katie confirmed I was stanning the right people — BTS. (I am tearing up as I write this.) I am grateful I met her, that we worked together on Suga to showcase him as best as we could.
For anyone who has been a part of book projects, co-written books, or is an author, this may seem like a very basic process — write, receive feedback, rework and resubmit. But for me, who was at that time, so sensitive and fragile, Katie’s presence was the only comforting thing. For my next book, I think will go through the basic process because I am more confident in myself and feel stronger about dealing with life.
Back to the dream…
I think I realised my dream of writing BTS’ biography — not an authorised one and I am not the only one who wrote it, but I still was part of something close to it. And for now, my dream came true! A friend called me that and I am happy for now!
Originally published at http://wetalkbooksclub.wordpress.com on February 24, 2022.