Writing a book has been everything I imagined it to be, and more. In my case, I think of it more as creating, rather than writing a book, since it has so many components and pieces.
Creating a book has always been on my “list” and as a designer and artist, I always knew it would be about design in some fashion, rather than a novel, for instance.
I imagine that writing a novel would be much tougher – having to create a really sound body of writing. My individual essays have seemed like they are simpler than that. They have been easier to gather and compile and tackle and manage – one at the time. I guess the requirement for consistency is still there? There’s no plot development, but still, there is a need for cohesion throughout. In any case, I have truly enjoyed the writing of the essays about the artful, creative living experiences that accompany the photos I’ve pulled together.
I think that’s where is started…writing about those first few experiences, as the mother of a young son. Then the idea of gathering them all, in groups… I had some photos that needed writing to accompany them, and I also had some writing pieces that needed photos. A spreadsheet started, and grew. It became an ever-evolving outline.
I added and deleted and switched and combined categories and topics. Then they started to take hold, take shape, hang together.
I wrote and labelled and tagged. We started doing photo shoots and labelled and tagged according to the great big master spreadsheet. There were months where there wasn’t much time to work on this project, and other months where I reveled in making good headway, in fruitful work.
Draft 1: Finally Real
I was still flying solo, without much professional help. I wanted to flush out the book and make it more concrete – I had to start somewhere. It was not the right time to leap ahead and learn InDesign (the software that the book would need to be in, to be printed eventually). I wanted a quick fix and I wanted to start with a draft I could quickly pull together, to get a sense of things. So I used PowerPoint – some cringed, but, it was what I knew well and used in my work presentations. It worked because it got me to get my material into a “book” format.
It went together quickly! A year ago, I printed it for the first time and wept. It was finally real. After looking at slides on a computer screen for months and months it felt wonderfully different…and real.
Draft 2: More Real
Fast forward another nine months…I now have a dozen photo shoots under my belt, have crossed off a lot of items on the spreadsheet and have also started working with a book designer. Fiona Raven is a huge help: as is her own book “Book Design Made Simple” that I refer to. She helped me lay out the pages in InDesign which I have now learned to use…basically… (quite the learning curve!) and I’ve placed everything into this new, polished format. There are still a lot of holes, but it feels good moving on to the proper format, to standardized page layouts and sizing. The book is taking shape even more, with chapter spreads and headings. The design is now refined and articulated.
DRAFT 3: Really Real
Here we are…right now… a third draft was printed off two weeks ago and sent off to the publishing consultants who will do a substantive edit and review of the manuscript. I’ve put a lot of hours in since Draft 2 – filling in all the blanks, writing the last few pieces, finding those elusive photos, and creating placeholders for the last dozen. I’ve laid out the front matter and the back matter. Now I know how many pages it will be in total. I’ve written my acknowledgements, allowed for the table of contents, dedications, and index, tweaked the cover and the title…. Lots of polishing on the pages, aligning, sizing of photos, revisions of content, layout… This feels amazing.
Behind the Book, my publishing consultants, will get back to me in another week or so…it will be interesting to hear what they have to say! After we sort through that, it will be time to tackle ISBN, dates at the printer, and an ambitious schedule to polish and get everything packaged for the printer.
I’m so excited and I’m hoping to stick to our deadlines in order to get this baby out by early October. Wish me luck in this last leg of an amazing journey.
Stay tuned! I welcome you to sign up to my email list to be notified of the book release and launch celebrations, or follow this blog. I’ll be certain to spread the good news as soon as I can.