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No Regrets


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Last week, after hours and HOURS of researching everything book cover-related, I sunk into my comfy chair, ostensibly watching a baking show. I told myself that I needed to let my research simmer a while before making a choice. But really, I was stalling. 

I seemed to be at a point of paralysis that I thought centered on costs involved. 

Just FYI, there are an awful lot of book cover designers out there, whether they’re freelancers or hired on for a company. And the fee for book designing encompasses an extensive range, from the thousands to dirt cheap (less than fifty dollars). So I had narrowed down my choices (also in quite a range) but I just couldn’t decide. 

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And then I remembered Cried a River

A month after 9-11, I wrote a song. And when I say I wrote a song, I mean I had the music in the humming stage and the lyrics written down. See, I don’t write music. Heck, I can barely read notes despite singing in choirs most of my life. So all I could do was record myself on a cassette singing the song I called Cried a River. 

A few days later, I called a singer/musician friend of mine. I wanted to share the song with her, and honestly, that’s about as far ahead as I was thinking. So she listened and immediately said, “Cathy, you need to record this!” She knew people in the business; she’d help out in the recording session (and write out the music) and she was sure she could get her friends to work at the “friend discount” (deeply cut-rate). I’d need to pay a professional singer whose voice matched the song style, she said, but she’d do the back-up vocals and it would be totally worth the time and expense. 

My head was spinning at the end of that day. It was a chunk of money, a crazy idea, a lot more work. But when I told Mister Man about it that night, he jumped on it. “Let me pay for it!” he insisted. “It’ll be your birthday present.” And before you could say, “Who do I write the check to?” I had a recorded song. 

I also still had friends from my days in radio and I called a few of them. They were polite but still, the song never played anywhere. It sits on a shelf with all my music, the quintessential bittersweet memento. 

So why would I suddenly think of Cried a River over twenty years later when trying to decide on a book cover designer? Because all those years ago, I chased a creative endeavor, one that was way beyond my personal skill levels, and I just full out went for it. 

I never worried about spending the money. Well, technically, it was Mister Man’s money but it was an out-of-the-budget expense for our household and that was a pretty big deal. 

I never wondered about getting my song into the market, or who would hear it. 

But mostly, in all these years since, I’ve never regretted going for it. I’ve never once said, “I wish I hadn’t put all that time and energy into writing and producing that song.” I’ve never thought—not for one second—that getting my song produced was a wasted effort. 

Sitting in my chair, I remembered what Cried a River meant to me and always would. My friend had been right; it was totally worth it. So it wasn’t about money with my book cover after all. It was about full out going for it in my latest creative endeavor, one which has absolutely pushed me beyond my skill levels. 

And you know what? I immediately made my designer choice. A chunk of money, sure, but I’ve got no regrets.

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