How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
How do you achieve a goal?
One step at a time.
How do you write a book?
One single letter of the alphabet at a time.
One letter plus a few more letters equals a word.
One word plus a few more words equals a sentence.
One sentence plus a few more sentences equals a paragraph.
One paragraph plus a few more paragraphs equals a story.
One story plus a few more stories… eventually equals a book!
Then, of course, there’s re-writing and more re-writing. After that comes even more re-writing.
There’s editing and proof-reading. And… even more editing and proofreading.
Pictures have to be selected. The manuscript has to be layed out in its final appearance.
After all of that… there’s more re-writing, editing, and proof-reading. Re-arrange sentences. Copy and paste. Delete.
Simultaneously, you must make sure each and every period, question mark, exclamation mark, and quotation marks are in the proper places!
Don’t forget to save often!
Check your facts. Google... and Google some more.
Somewhere in the midst of all that, you must select the title and perhaps a sub-title. Then you must tweak both of them.
You must select someone to write a foreword while you work on the prologue, introductions, preface, and epilogue.
Don’t forget to back it up… often!
You must insert the page numbers.
Then… you must do more proof-reading and editing of all the various components of your book. Sometimes this can be on your computer. Other times it should be on a printed hard-copy. Once you make all your red marks on the printed hard-copy, you must insert them into the digital file on your computer.
You must create a Table of Contents and a List of Photographs. And… in my case, a glossary.
Oh, and speaking of photographs… have they been converted to digital half-tones yet?
Are you still saving your work?
You must decide to whom (if anyone) you should dedicate the book. Who should you acknowledge? Have you written those two pieces yet?
You must study the publisher’s manual as well as their website. You must communicate with them to make sure you have all the particulars correct.
Are you still backing up everything? Every single day?
Then… you can do more editing and proof-reading. More copying and pasting. More re-arranging. More deleting.
And on, and on, and on, and on, it went!
I’ve struggled through some difficulties and delays, to be sure! I had to get past many overcast, cloudy, gloomy, no-motivation days and even weeks.
July 8th (seven months ago) was the day I actually sat down and started. The seasons came and the seasons went.
I cycled to the downtown Farmers’ Market every Saturday, returning home with a load of produce on my back carrier. I planted flowers. I transplanted flowers.
Then… suddenly, summer turned to fall. There were leaves to rake. There were times I lost my momentum – especially when the sun seemed to disappear for all of October. I raked more leaves. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family.
Then.. it was winter. There was snow to shovel and ice to chip. My computer crashed and died. Talk about depressing. Plus the sun rarely showed itself. I made a big pot of veggie and wild rice soup. I celebrated Christmas with the family. Then my new computer had issues. I bought yet another one. I endured no power and/or heat in the house off and on for a few days.
I shoveled more snow. I chipped more ice. I made a big pot of 32-bean soup. I cleaned up after a flood from a burst water pipe. I shoveled yet more snow and chipped yet more ice. I even “raked” 2-3 foot drifts of snow off of the roof. In fact, I’m basically still shoveling snow and chipping ice. I made a big pot of lentil soup.
Last night – again – I had insomnia. So… at 3:30am I was wide awake working on more proof-reading. Alas, today we had no internet in the house. Whew! Got that resolved.
Got all the documents and two cover photos in order. Converted the manuscript to a PDF file and saved it on a CD.
And... finally the long awaited moment arrived. I went to UPS and shipped it overnight!