Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Manuscript Submitted!

Dear Book-I-Wrote-About-How-to-Plan-a-Meaningful-and-Memorable-Wedding-Without- Losing-Your-Savings-or-Sanity,

I can't decide if this is a love letter or hate mail. You seriously kicked my butt (and will no doubt continue to keep on kicking it, as I spend the next couple months revising you based on my editor's feedback).

The idea of you came to me easily and quite romantically all those years ago. I was insecure throughout our wedding planning process because I had no idea how all our ideas would turn out.
  • Self-catering a reception? Sounds like a great way to have fun with our friends in the hours leading up to the wedding but what if everyone gets sick from food poisoning?
  • Mingling with guests before the wedding instead of walking down the aisle? Sounds like an awesome way to calm our nerves, give us more time to connect with friends and family, and help the wedding feel less like a show, but what if it's a big flop? What if people don't realize the wedding is starting and just keep on talking?
  • Many small cakes from Whole Foods instead of a real wedding cake? Sounds like a great way to save money and provide more tasty options for our guests, but what if it makes our wedding look like an imposter?
  • [the list goes on and on]

When all of those things (and a gazillion other unconventional choices) worked out and helped us have the most amazing wedding--for us--I knew that I wanted to write a book to say to others: "You can do it. You can make choices that make sense for you, regardless of all the pressure you feel. You can prioritize community, connection, and fun, while letting go of anything else that doesn't feel right. You can plan a meaningful and memorable celebration without losing your savings or sanity."

And in the 3.5 years since the idea of you was born, you have taken me on quite the roller coaster ride of ups and downs. First there was the daunting task of learning all about how to write a book proposal (thank you, Google). Then there was rejection after rejection from agents who didn't think the idea was a good fit for them. And then there was the agent who approached me. Yippee! And then there was the long, arduous process of revising the book proposal (all 20,000 words of it!) before it was ready to be submitted to publishers. And then there were more rejections. And then nibbles and bites and phone interviews that caused hope to surge through my body! And more rejection (it's hard to publish books in the age of blogging and a difficult economy). And then an offer! Woo-hoo! And then another long and arduous process of actually producing a 65,000-word manuscript.

This is a love letter to you, dear Book, because you have proven that big dreams do come true with intention, hard work, perseverance, humility, dedication, and support from friends and family.

And it's hate mail because you made me work so hard to learn that lesson!

But it is one of the most important lessons to learn. Each of us has the capacity to dream big--to dwell in possibility and conjure up a goal that scares us. Once we identify that destination, then we can tuck our chins down and walk toward it--through gusts of winds that threaten to knock us off course, naysayers who tell us we're walking in the wrong direction, fatigue, and internal doubts.

Dearest Book, I hope you go on to inspire and comfort thousands of other people who are at the start of their wedding planning journey and wondering where they're trying to get to and whether or not they'll be able to make it.

With gratitude,


Today on Feeding the Soil: A few of my reflections on 2011...

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miss fancy pants (the bride) said...

That's so exciting, congratulations Sara! I can't tell you how inspiring your blog was throughout our wedding planning and I'm thrilled to know that your book will soon be able to inspire many more. Plus, I'm excited to get myself a copy even though we've been married for 2 years. Wedding lessons always seem to translate pretty well into life lessons too. Congrats again!

Sara E. Cotner said...

oh, miss fancy pants, it means the world to me to see your name around these parts again. And congratulations on two years of marriage!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Sara! Such a huge accomplishment.

Allison Campbell said...

congratulations, Sara!

I'm amazed you still feel like writing after finishing your manuscript :) Whenever I finish writing something huge (even something as insignificant as a term paper), my writing urges are drained for quite a while.

way to go!

Casandra said...

Sara - your blogs inspire me everyday to "scare myself alive." Thanks you and congrats!

Sara E. Cotner said...

I love that phrase, Casandra!

Yes, Allison, I have had to force myself to blog, but once I'm into it, I find that it's much lighter and breezier than any other type of writing for me. And thank you for your contribution to my book!

Chloe said...

"You can prioritize community, connection, and fun, while letting go of anything else that doesn't feel right." <--- I needed that reminder. I might write it on my bathroom mirror or something; sometimes I forget that it's okay to have the wedding my mister and I have imagined - one that's centered on exactly those three things - and that we do not have to feed into the pressure to be more conventional.

And thank you for being an example of pursuing your dreams even in the face of obstacles (a publisher saying no)! CONGRATULATIONS Sara! I know I've already said it, but I really can't wait to read your book! :)

Sara E. Cotner said...

And not only is it "okay to have the wedding [your] mister and [you] have imagined," it's the most important, authentic thing you could do!

Gretchen said...

Congratulations on submitting your book!!!

Anonymous said...

Sara, you never needed to write a book to inspire me. Your blog inspires me every day. You are truly an amazing individual!

tina said...

Wow an achievement for you this new year. First achievement for this year I guess.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you! I know things will work out just fine in the end. Been planning my wedding for a while and I've questioned many of my own ideas. Like for instance, will people love my handmade wedding favors? Is my simple dress pretty enough? In the end, I have to realize what's more important. It's not about just having a wedding. I'm marrying my fiance because I love him more than anything. That's important to me. Just trust that everything will turn out fine in the end. I'm doing that same thing with the wedding planning. I just have to follow my heart! Good luck! Thank you for being an inspiration to many women!

-Jodi :)

Christine Lindop said...

Fantastic, Sara! What an achievement, especially with a little one to look after as well. I look forward to seeing it in print.
Chris Lindop

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