Within the last two weeks I’ve submitted three book proposals to my agent. These include proposals to revise and republish my first two books, Spirituality and The Aspiring Mystic, both of which are out of print although for now still fairly easily available to find online. Those books originally came out in 1997 and 2000, respectively, and oh what a different the better part of a decade can make! We’d love to find a new home for both books, where they could be published in revised/expanded editions, ideally by the same publisher, and ideally by the same publisher who will take on the third proposal I have circulating, which is a look at Christian mysticism from a non-scholarly but postmodern perspective. This proposal represents the first fully-fledged proposal that I have written in about two and a half years.
Reflecting on all this, I find myself entertaining a few swirling thoughts: has it really been that long? And yes it has. I knew I needed to take a break (among other things, during my hiatus I changed religions and jobs), especially since I had forgotten how much fun it is to create a book proposal. I had gotten into a bit of an understandable rut (after all, between the spring of 2001 and the fall of 2004 I wrote seven books), and really needed the break: I fought it at the time, but common sense prevailed and I took the time off. The result? Now I feel refreshed, excited to be writing again, and more enthusiastic about the new book than I’ve felt about any project since Embracing Jesus and the Goddess which I wrote in 1999-2000. Wow. So this new dawn in my writing career has a been a long time coming.
But it is a new dawn — talks to my agent these days are upbeat, she can sense the excitement in my voice. She was, quite frankly, surprised (in a positive way) at how responsive publishers were to the mini-proposals we circulated this year at Book Expo and at the Religious Booksellers’ Trade Exhibit. She and I had talked about it taking two to four years from my returning to Christianity before we could expect my career to heat up again. Now it seems to be cooking along just fine, a mere fifteen months after my re-entry into the church.
And the good news keeps on coming in. This summer I’m ghostwriting a book for a woman in Atlanta who had a profound spiritual experience working with a guru. I’ll be an uncredited ghost (meaning my name won’t appear anywhere on the book), but it’s a paying gig and best of all, I’m writing. Meanwhile, I’m developing content for a Beliefnet program on mysticism which should be really fun and exciting (yes, mysticism can be fun and exciting!!!) — more details on that to come. And a week ago I received an out-of-the-blue email from an editor friend off mine with whom I hadn’t spoken in a year, sniffing for a new book idea. I haven’t had that experience (i.e., an editor approaching me with an idea) since the inquiry almost three years ago (from a different editor) that eventually led to the publication of 366 Celt. Wheeee!
Now, lest this posting veer into the realm of irrational exuberance, I should point out that only the ghostwriting and Beliefnet deals are actually under contract: all the other balloons I’ve sent up may or may not find their target, and who knows how long it will take. I’ve had books get deals several years after the proposals were written, so who knows how long my current proposals will take? But that’s not a problem, really. If I don’t get a deal this fall, I’ll just keep on writing (I have about ten proposal ideas simmering on my hard drive), developing new proposals to pitch and/or continuing to hone my craft in a variety of ways, including this blog. What’s great about all this isn’t fame or money (believe me, I have precious little of either), but the sheer joy of my craft. I’m realizing now just how much I had lost that joy by the end of my tenure as a Pagan author. Thank heaven that a hiatus and a change of perspective was all it took to reignite it in my soul.