I’ve spent the first half of this year slowing down—way down. After working for what seemed like almost every waking hour in the last half of 2015, I knew I needed to scale back some of my client work and schedule a little more time for myself. I had two plans for what I wanted to do with those extra hours. First, I wanted to get outside and explore more of this island with the people I love; people who had been so excited for me to move back to Victoria, and waited patiently for me to stop working around the clock. The second thing I wanted to do was finish writing my book proposal—and that goal was a little scarier, because it came with so many unknowns.
I didn’t know how to begin the writing process. I didn’t know how to balance the actual storytelling with the descriptions of what each chapter was going to include. I didn’t know how to write an overview. And I knew things like my audience, my marketing ideas (a podcast to go with it!) and my book launch plans. But I didn’t know if taking a step back from my client work and earning less money for a few months to finish writing it all down was going to be worth it. At the end of the day, I didn’t know if any publisher was going to like my idea. I only knew I would regret not taking the time to finish writing my proposal and, with the help of my incredible agent, put it out into the world.
As you can imagine, based on the title of this post, all the work paid off. A publisher did love my idea—and now I am officially writing a book!
Currently titled The Year of Less (as I know things can always change before you publish), the timeline of the book is the first year of the shopping ban when I also got rid of 70% of my belongings. But the chapters are filled with so much more than just a list of what I was or wasn’t buying. In this self-help memoir, you’ll find stories more personal than anything I’ve published on this blog, as I share what I’ve learned from my experiments with consuming less of everything over the years. From giving up alcohol, to becoming a more mindful eater, to spending less time online and, of course, not shopping. I’m passionate about constantly trying to be a more conscious consumer and guiding others to do the same.
Here is the official book deal announcement from Publishers Marketplace:
Cait Flanders’ THE YEAR OF LESS, about the popular personal finance blogger’s year-long shopping ban experiment, with lessons for readers on how to consume less of everything, from food and alcohol to media and material goods, pitched as Marie Kondo meets Sarah Hepola, to Patty Gift at Hay House by Lucinda Blumenfeld at Lucinda Literary (World).
As I was working on the proposal, I looked over all the stories and lessons I would be sharing, and realized there is one thing I know for sure: whenever you’re thinking of consuming more of something, you need to figure out what part of you or your life feels like it is lacking—and do whatever it takes to fix that instead. The best answer is never to consume more. It’s to simplify, strip things away and figure out what’s really going on. I took the risk of cutting back on my work so I could write the proposal for this book because I believe this lesson is so important. And I wouldn’t be able to share this message with the world, if it weren’t for the people who believed in it too.
The Dream-Making Team
First, I have to thank my friend Chris Bailey for connecting me with his (our) literary agent, Lucinda Blumenfeld, and for always being a text away whenever I had a question about the proposal for his book, The Productivity Project. (Aside from Lucinda and publishers, Chris is also the only other person who has read my proposal!) If you want to go the traditional publishing route, you need an agent who believes in you and who will push you to do your best work, and that’s what Lucinda did for me. I honestly don’t know what my book proposal would look like today, if it weren’t for her. I feel so lucky to have both Chris and Lucinda in my corner.
And, of course, the proposal is only becoming an actual book because a publisher wants to make it so… and I am thrilled to announce I’ll be joining the list of authors at Hay House! Hay House was launched by Louise Hay herself and is a leading publisher in the self-help space. They have brought book ideas to life with some of the most incredible women I follow online, including Kris Carr, Gabrielle Bernstein, Gala Darling, Katie Dalebout and so many more. Since accepting their offer, I’ve been learning even more about them, and knew it was meant to be when I read this philosophy on the Hay House website:
“By changing just one thought, you can improve the quality of your life.”
I can’t imagine a more fitting partnership. <3
The Best Birthday Gift
I’m calling my little team of Chris, Lucinda and Patty (my editor who shares a birthday with me—kismet!) the dream-makers, because that’s exactly what they’ve done—made one of my lifelong dreams come true. On July 6th, I was driving down an empty road, minutes from entering an area with no cell service, when my phone rang. It was Lucinda, so I pulled over before I entered a dead zone and answered the call. She had good news—the best news—to which I said “yes! Let’s do it!”. Then I thanked her for everything she had done to help me, and quietly shed a few happy tears in the car. It was the last day of being 30, and the best birthday gift I could have asked for.
I’ve been sitting on this news for two weeks now, not because I haven’t been excited about it, but because it still doesn’t seem real. I’ve even been scared to tell all my friends, in case it doesn’t work out, or I wake up and discover I made the whole thing up. It reminds me of that feeling you get when you realize you’re truly happy or in love, and you want to savour it a little longer before letting anyone in on your secret. You’re scared that by announcing it, it’ll lose some of its sparkle or you’ll somehow jinx it and it’ll all disappear. I think this is what it feels like when a dream comes true. Since I was the little bleach blonde version of myself who spent every weekend at the library picking out a stack of books to bring home for the week, I have dreamt of seeing my name on one of them. Next year, that will be a reality.
I can’t share many more details about the book just yet, except that I have to write it (in 6 months!) and it will come out sometime in 2017. For now, I just want to say thank you to all of you for being part of this community, supporting me throughout my journey and encouraging me to keep writing. You are the most important people on this dream-making team, and I know I wouldn’t be in this position without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Let’s savour this news for a few more days… and then I have a feeling life is going to pick up speed again. It’s going to be a great year. :)