I’m going to tell you about the time I swam across a lake with a bunch of Girl Scouts.
I was not a Girl Scout at the time. I had just quit Girl Scouts because when you’re ten years old, you want to quit anything that requires you to go to meetings, because eff that you’re like ten years old. But I still went to Girl Scout camp. That was because Girl Scout camp was totally awesome and they didn’t ask if you were an actual Girl Scout, which made me feel like an secret agent, and when you’re ten years old, you’ll do a lot to feel like an secret agent.
I was part of the Swimming Group. This basically meant that we were the ones who had listed “swimming” as our first-choice activity, and it also meant that we were all part fish and really proud of it. We were the coolest, because we were going to swim across the lake.
The lake was not that big. It was slightly more impressive than a pond. But the other side was far enough away that it was kinda blurry, and there was the definite chance of drowning, which made it way more fun.
The thing about looking at a big scary lake and thinking “oh hell I’m gonna swim across it” is that it’s just you and the lake. The lake is huge, and you are small. The lake is deep and dark and probably filled with stuff like self-doubt and those pirate skeletons from the James and the Giant Peach movie. There’s a whole lotta room for you to disappear under the surface.
But when we started swimming across the lake, there were a million of us. Like, twenty of the most badass Girl Scouts you ever saw. We were in a giant bobbing clump. Sometimes we were chatty and sometimes it was totally silent as we all flailed toward the other side of the lake, but the point was that we were together. If someone had dipped under the surface, there was a battalion of Girl Scouts ready to haul them back up. Probably the safest place in the world to be was in the middle of that lake with those Girl Scouts.
And once we hit the other side and started swimming back (because the point was to swim back) we started separating a little. Some of us were faster swimmers and got to the beach first. Some of us plugged along more slowly, pacing themselves. It was pretty spread out.
But it wasn’t a real separation. We were all still the Swimming Group.The fastest Girl Scouts cheered the rest of us on. The last Girl Scout got the most people patting her on the back when she got out of the water. And we all got out of the water. Every single one of us.
You figure writing a book is something you do alone. It’s not. You are surrounded by some kickass Girl Scouts who will do anything to help you go further.
It doesn’t matter who reaches the beach first.
The Girl Scouts on the beach are not any cooler than the Girl Scouts still halfway across the lake.
The nice thing is that you can remember – when you’re grocery shopping at five in the afternoon and you’re tired, or when you’re not sure if you’re cut out for this – is that you’re swimming across a goddamn lake, and that’s ridiculously awesome. Your Girl Scouts won’t let you stop swimming.
(So swimming across a lake with a bunch of Girl Scouts only got me a book deal in the metaphorical sense. But you get the point.)
And this is my roundabout and potentially nonsensical way of telling you that my book, PLEASE DON’T TELL, sold to HarperCollins in a two-book deal, and I will be freaking out for the rest of my life/trying to figure out how to properly thank my part-agent-part-fairy-godmother Sarah Davies, critique partners/publishing sherpas Michelle and Sarah H, and the super awesome/super smart/super sassy LitBitches.