Now I have heard a lot of different approaches to how authors write. Some lock themselves away with nothing but a typewriter. Others dive into their surroundings seeking inspiration. I watched an interview on Hunter S. Thompson and his process included a lot of cocaine.
I’m not like any of these examples, especially not the drug induced one. The lion’s share of my book was written while sitting in my living room/dining room where frequent interruptions by children were the norm. Occasionally I was able to get away and sit in my local coffee shop and bust out a chapter or two, but normally distractions occurred regularly. As a result, I found myself staying up late into the night typing away on my laptop with no concept of what time it was. I wrote the rough draft of my book in a little over a month. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing honestly. Maybe it’s not a thing at all, but simply a happening.
Then I started on my first draft… That process more than made up for how quickly the initial writing took place. I am very focused on speed. I type fast. I also have an enormous amount of typos because of this. Well, that and the fact that every device I do any communicating on corrects my spelling errors. I sometimes wonder if I know how to spell anything on my own. I almost considered switching to a typewriter but then I remembered typewriters don’t come with spellcheck.
So I went about revising my work, cringing at how many spelling and grammatical errors where strewn about my manuscript. I had made the mistake of sending the rough draft to a few friends to give me feedback, and had to apologize because it was nearly unreadable in part. I had to go back and translate the things that resembled words, trying my best to remember what I was getting at. This took months.
I sent updated manuscripts back to friends and had them give me feedback. My wife read it, my family read it, and it started to feel real to me. I had these people who were reading a book I had written. They were telling me what they thought about it. It was all so surreal. Most already know my story, so they were very familiar with the subject matter I was writing on. Some of their feedback was pretty entertaining as well.
“You write exactly how you talk”….. “So is that good or bad?”…..”I don’t know, but every time I read your book I can clearly hear you talking. It is definitely unique.”
Hmmmm… I guess the jury is still out on if that’s a good or a bad thing.
My publishers were very keen to read it for themselves, but I wasn’t ready to send it. I needed to have someone take a fine tooth comb to it. My publishing package doesn’t include any real editing for spelling and grammar. They look at content (and I got in trouble, but that’s a story for another time), but typos are all on me. So, I asked a close friend named Ron to give it a look, but since I knew myself, and how much editing my book really needed, I also solicited the help of my wife.
She proofreads any and everything I ask her to. So if you have ever read something of mine that had a mistake it is probably because she didn’t edit it for me. I was foolish enough to think something didn’t need her stamp of approval. Really though, these two people, my wife and Ron, gave more of themselves to this project than I can ever thank them for.
Ron is an amazing man. He is a retired pastor who has a heart for the next generation. My wife is amazing, period. If this book becomes something it will be because these two made it better than it would have been with my input alone.
Once they went through and found all my typos (well hopefully all of them, there were a lot), I felt I could finally send it in to my publisher.
To put that in perspective, that happened on September 8th, just a little over a month ago. It took from January of this year to September to assure it was ready. In that time I asked permission from those whose stories I shared if they were ok with it being in my book. I informed my church board of what was happening. I told family, friends, and other pastors.
In that time I also freaked out a little. This was just my journal, my reflections, and now it is getting one step closer to being something others can have access to.
I can’t even…
Well, there were a few more hurdles this past month, those things I will dub “getting in trouble” but I will share that in a future post. Thanks for reading.