If you write a book…

For those who follow this blog, you may recall my book-writing projects. I finished writing my autobiography last April, but it’s taken eight more months to resolve how the book should end. It has been an unending, exasperating exercise that forced me into some new level of maturity or old age, kicking and screaming. So I’d write this last chapter, declare the book finished (again), and spend a few days or weeks working on my next project. Then, inevitably, I’d realize the last chapter was all wrong and start over. Rinse, repeat.

Eventually, against the advice of the butterflies in my stomach, I paid a professional beta reader in another country who didn’t know me to read this story of mine. Then I set the book to the side and held my breath until Miss Francis gave me her thoughts. She was amazing. Her feedback was sincere and encouraging, and she gave me the confidence to put one more foot in front of the other – this is to say, I sent my book to a reader that knows me, another, and finally, one more.

I have intended only to print a copy of this book for each granddaughter, and then leave them on the bookshelf for the duration. However, in the interest of experiencing all aspects of book-writing, I decided to also write the copyright notice and disclaimer. My research led to an Author who gave the most enthralling instructions for this rather mundane subject.

Straightaway, she admitted she may have written the article if only to use the word verso – a lovely word that means the page on the left side of an open book, or the reverse side of recto, the page on the right-hand side of an open book. This same Author suggested we should have fun with something that may or may not resolve whatever future legal hot water we may find ourselves in, which is what I did. Well, especially since I’m hoping there is no legal hot water in my future anyway. (All comments, suggestions, or heads-ups regarding this matter are welcome, of course.)

Now that I am (hopefully) nearing the end of my first book-writing adventure, I would document a few somewhat astonishing observations for posterity.

  1. The more you read a gut-wrenching passage from your past, the less emotional it becomes. I am no therapist, but it tells me not to fear analyzing the bejesus out of something until I work out those raw emotions. Maybe this is good news for some of us that wonder if we will ever move on from something we considered horrible.
  2. Relating to re-reading passages, I have determined editing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more you edit, the more you need to edit. For example, I recently read of an Author who noted that for every five words he writes, he edits seven.
  3. Regarding editing, it is possible that a book’s final days of editing are where we leave our unchecked errors. We have become so familiar with the writing and sick of the editing that these last few edits are done in haste and foment even more errors that we loathe to find and correct.

Most importantly, the experience has reinforced my love of telling a story; the longer, the better it seems. It’s funny how things change yet stay the same. So, similar to my days of running, the longer the race, the better, although my new goal is to write the next story a little faster. 😊