Bang the drum, toot the horn, and ring the chimes for victory!— No, I didn’t snag the agent or the book deal, but thanks for believing and sending those positive vibes— my developmental editor sent the last round of feedback. It’s not too shabby.

I’m so proud of you. You took what was very powerful and raw and real and turned it into this polished, affecting, really beautifully wrought story. This is an excellent manuscript.

Yeah. That. I’m proud of me too.

Of course, she also gave me two pages of notes so I can cut it down to a marketable length. It’s currently 40,000 words over the standard debut, which means I need to cut what amounts to a novella out of my novel. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Pinch Me— If I’m cutting that means I’m not writing. I’m. No. Longer. Writing. The Story. I no longer have to write the story. My mission, should I decide to accept it, is to tighten and refine until it sparkles. The story is done. It took eighteen years and 12 throat clearing drafts to get here. But my patience and persistence opened the door for the magic to arrive in draft thirteen— the Magic 13!

It’s damn exciting. I’ve officially entered the final act for this phase of my writing journey, which comes with its own obstacle course.

The time between when you’re no longer a beginner, but you’re not yet in the business is the hardest. And no one can tell you how long this phase will last— Sara Zarr

But I’m ready. Never been more ready to figure out how to craft a pitch and synopsis so hot and compelling agents and publishers will enter into a bidding war to get their mitts on Kaitlyn’s story. It will take a while. Not as long as it took to write the story— at least, I hope not. But you see, dear friends, readers and voyeurs, it doesn’t matter how long it takes because this phase of the journey isn’t just about wrapping Kaitlyn in a gorgeous ribbon for the debutante ball.

Jump back— to my dancing days. Sure, I did the ballet thing, but what shaped me as a dancer and provided the foundation for my work as an actress was the Martha Graham Technique. It’s built on three components: the contraction, the release and the spiral. These components don’t exist in isolation. A dancer moves from one to the other because of the inherent fluidity within each that leads to the inevitability of the next.

I sat on a bench across from a lion in its cage. It would go from one side of the cage to the other. It repeatedly made the footprints four times over and back. It was a wonderful way that it turned to go. I would watch this lion for hours as he’d take those great padding steps four times back and across the cage. Finally, I learned to walk that way. I learned from the lion the inevitability of return, the shifting of one’s body…The shift of the weight that is so key to the movement.— Martha Graham

That inherent inevitable flow within and between each of the technique’s components isn’t easy to embrace. But my body eventually absorbed it once I realized moving between a contraction and a release is no different than inhaling and exhaling. Try it. Let the breath fall out of your body. Don’t push, just allow it to escape like air from a tire. Once the last drop is out, there will be a little moment of nothing, then the breath automatically returns. The other end of the breath works the same way. Once the body is full of breath, there is a moment of nothing then the release begins. It is within the crest of the full or the empty that the shift of the inevitable comes because every movement has a beginning, a middle and an end. And the end of one thing— that moment of nothing— is the beginning of the next.

Jump Up— and return to this writer’s life, where this phase of the journey isn’t just about wrapping Kaitlyn in a gorgeous ribbon for the debutante ball. It’s about surrendering to the full release of the story in order to make room for the inevitability of the next.

Bang the drum. Toot the horn. Ring the chimes of Victory!