The Final Draft: Another Step on my Journey

Toni Spittin' & Speaking in Kang, Botswana

Toni Spittin’ & Speaking in Kang, Botswana

There are incredible things happening in my life right now, but the most important news of the month is that the third draft of my book, Travels of a Lyrical Ambassador, is done.

This has been such a journey.  The journey clarified for me and helped me accept that my narrative and technical writing are not so strong.  I figured that out the hard way after nine months of labor on nine chapters of my life as a citizen diplomat. Then I was left with two options:   to decide if I was going to take writing classes and/or just get a co-writer. I opted for a co-writer.  That was the second part of “the journey”. It took almost two years for the right person to reveal themselves to me. He did not look like what I pictured at all, but I’m not regular so why would my co-author relationship look ‘normal’.   A writer friend shared his unsolicited feedback.  He was against the idea of me working with the co-writer I had chosen and also felt that I being an artist should and must write this story all by myself. During the conceptualization phase—-I never take seriously the critique of one who has not produced.  Later on in the development of an idea I am wide open to perspectives from other minds, but if I haven’t read your book, listened to your songs, looked at your paintings, or watched your movies, you may as well visualize me with my hands over my ears.

The creative process is a delicate one especially for a sensitive creative such as myself. Ridding myself of perfectionism and self judgment has been hard enough. Sometimes we think we have grown because we are now more gentle with ourselves only to realize that we’ve created relationships with people who we hire to do the judging for us. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the workload of this creative project with my 26 year old-white male-flip-flop wearing in NYC- teaching-English-in- China co-writer friend and colleague.  He is a hip hop head, from the West Coast and loves international culture just as much as I do, so we bonded.

I thought having a co-writer would make it easier but that was not the case. It was still my stories, my voice, and I needed to now balance out my procrastination with the need for collaboration.  Add to that the idea that revealing my inner-most thoughts and opinions to the general public
felt a little scary. I mean, let’s get naked in front of the whole world and write a book about it? Who does that?! Well, that is what true artists do. Now, I know.

The manuscript is now in my lawyer’s hands.  He will read it this weekend and we will discuss next steps. Literary agent? E-book and distribution deal? Indie/self-publishing? This morning I admitted to someone in an email that I am going through that artist self-questioning process right now. Maybe that’s why I am so protective of my creativity these days. Maybe that’s why I feel so soft and vulnerable when I share.

Anyway, “Beats, Rhymes and Life” and “Best of A Tribe Called Quest” is the soundtrack for my morning. Although my only movements today include moving the car from one side of the street to the other and maybe to a yoga class at Sacred Brooklyn, but it is perfect traveling music. Indeed.

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2 responses to “The Final Draft: Another Step on my Journey

  1. Caroline aka FiberTribe

    Oh, Toni! This is SO many kinds of wonderful news! I cannot wait to read your book. And if your book tour, and yes, there will be a book tour comes out this way (Salt Lake City or anywhere in the mountain west) there is a great indie bookstore in Salt Lake called The King’s English. Wahoo! maybe a cd in the back of the book??????? like you need ideas…

  2. Yes for the Final Draft! Toni, your spirit has always been strong, loving and yes, sensitive. Continue letting God work it all out for you. I know that you exhaled now that this step is complete.

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