I did it! I finished the first complete draft of my cancer poetry book.
Well, maybe ‘finished’ is the wrong word. How about, “decided I’d written enough and stopped writing.” I’ve discovered this with both software engineering projects and writing – you don’t really finish, you just get to a point where you stop working, and ship it.
That’s where I’ve gotten to on the book. I completed all the poems I had on my list to write and I’ve done a number of editing passes. Heather has done a couple of editing passes on parts that were in progress and given me valuable input – corrections and suggestions to improve. I’ve thought about adding more or rearranging the thing, but part of me just needs to be done with this project.
So, I am declaring “done.”
Well, with the first draft phase. Now it is time for the real scary part of a writing project – sending out for editing, review and general public scorn. Yes, I specialize in drama and self-criticism. It’s very easy for me to get into the, “Well I knew it was crap, so I’ll just burn it now,” syndrome when I do get feedback.
I am getting better at it, but it is still work.
I’d very much like to see my manuscript turned into a book you can buy. I think I know the basic steps, but still – you run into the problem of rejection. If I send this book around to publishers, likely it will be rejected a lot before anyone would publish it (assuming a publisher exists who would publish it). I was reading an article the other day that said JK Rowling was rejected something like 33 times before someone would publish Harry Potter. It’s a common theme for a number of very good books – ones much better than mine.
Not sure I am strong enough for that or if I want to take that much time out of my life to write all those query letters, send them, track them, follow-up, etc. There isn’t much of a market for this kind of writing so what to do?
The other option is self-publishing. Doable, easy, and just a few dollars out of my pocket and my book could be for sale on Amazon in just a few weeks. Then my family, friends, fellow bloggers, etc could click and buy it (either the paperback or e-book or if I really had it together, the audio book). I just might take that route since the purpose of this book was never to get famous, sell lots of books or validate my skill as a poet by getting a traditional publisher to agree to print it. The point has been to finish it and write what I need to say.
Still, the book is now in that scary state where I have to start showing it to others before I can proceed down either path. I am a good writer. Good enough to know that my work can’t be put up for sale without some serious editing by people other than me. I have family and friends who will edit and give me honest feed back, but at some point I’ll have to send it to professional editor – a thought that scares me.
But, I am not at that point yet. I am still making a few decisions about where to go from here with the project. I know many of you have been through this process yourself, if you’ve got any suggestions, please leave me a comment – I’d appreciate any input you have.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
I likely won’t be writing much this week as I’ve been at the keyboard a lot the last couple of weeks and need a bit of a break to recharge and think about my next writing project. I’ve three different projects running through my head and will pick one to start on while the editing wheels turn on my poetry book.
Till next week,