THOUGHTS ON WRITING AND PUBLISHING MY FIRST BOOK
Hi everyone! I have been very busy editing and formatting my first ever book. It is a poetry book called ‘CATCH A POEM BY THE TALE”. (Thank you to my friend Val for thinking up this brilliant title!)
I thought I would share a bit of my process with you and let you know how its been going.
‘I didn’t choose writing. Writing chose me’.
This quote pretty much sums up how I feel about my new found obsession with writing. It started in January of this year after my cat BigBoy died. My pen just would not stop moving. I started with my Memoir. I wrote about 40,000 words towards it but then hit a bit of a block with it. It was advised to me by Memoir writing friends to put it on the back burner for awhile to let it simmer. I did that.
I still felt this need to write (writing is in my blood now!) so I turned my creative writing energy towards my new poetry book.
Here are a few kind comments so far about my work:
‘WICKEDLY GOOD!’– Li Starhill- TV producer, Vancouver, B.C.
‘BRILLLIANT!”—Julius Howard, author of ‘Beasts of Freedom’
“I DON’T NORMALLY READ POETRY BUT WHEN I DO I SHALL READ YOURS! ‘— Marian McGlochlin, FB friend
‘JOY JUST SEEMS TO EXUDE FROM YOU. EVEN WHEN YOU EXPRESS SADNESS, JOY IS ALWAYS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.
A FINE ARTIST. BOTH IN WORD AND PICTURE’.‘—Calvin Smith, Actor. Play director
‘PURE JOY! LOVE YOUR STYLE!’– Harlan Wheeler. Author, Poet and Inspirational Troublemaker..
Thank you all so much. The support definitely helps me to keep on keepin on!
Overall, this whole writing process has been fun although tedious.
- Deciding on which poems to put in
- Deciding what order to put them in the book
- Adding my original artwork to it. (All the art in this blog post are mine)
- Deciding which of the 7 chapters to put them in.
HERE ARE THE 7 CHAPTERS
1.Thoughts on Writing and Creativity
2.Deep (and lighter) Thoughts
4. Food, People and Places
5. Anger/Art show burnout
6. CapeTown (Leaving music business)
7. Hope and Inspiration
I am also illustrating about 47 poems out of the over 130 poems in the book, which is fun. Combining my visual art with my writing seems to be ideal for my eclectic personality type. I am using my line drawings, also some of my old watercolor, acrylic and pastel paintings. I will be turning all my colored artwork black and white for the inside of the book. Some of my poems are on the silly side so I will be using my lighthearted art (like this one here for my poem about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz). Other poems that are deeper and darker I am using the landscapes.
I recently summoned 3 friends (beta readers) to help me with editing and content ideas. I appreciate them so much! Thanks Steph, Calvin and Barb. The interesting thing about this is that they all had different ideas and suggestions. They did agree though on many other points. The overall consensus seems similar and it has been helpful. Ultimately though I must go with my own gut about the final edit.
ORLANDO SHOOTING ( SIGH!)
Then the Orlando shooting happened and it sort of took the wind out of my creative sails. Like all of us I’m sure it is like getting punched in the gut over and over again with these damn shootings! I thought ‘Ahhh why even bother with this silly book? Why does it matter? Its not that important in the scheme of life. Life is too sad right now. blah blah’ ‘Is this book even worth doing?’ “Whats the purpose of it anyway?”..
They call that the ‘inner critic’. I decided to shut the inner critic up by saying “SHUT UP inner critic !! heh. Pretty simple eh?? I am doing this thing anyway. If everyone in America gets depressed and shuts down then the terrorist wins. We must keep on keepin on! Creativity heals!
Then I read a blog from another writer that I admired. She said she checked her Amazon stats after publishing her book and had only sold 7 books. 7?? Oh well….( I realize writing is not about the money, should never be about the money. It definitely is not for me.)
So in the midst of some emotional crap I ‘show up’ and I go back to my editing process every day. I review each poem for content, typos and grammar, I move poems into the seven categories, read them aloud etc.
It is definitely a tedious process and honestly I’ve grown a wee bit bored with reading them over and over. Someone said ‘Write drunk, edit sober’. I’ve been very very sober lately. LOL. I am the type of person that wants to move on to my next idea and not stew over old stuff. I will be thankful when this book is done and published so I can move on– to book 2 and 3!
Some poems in this book I really do like a lot. Some I am super proud of. Some just ‘wrote themselves’ in one take like being taken over by a higher force. Some I woke up at 4 am to scribble down in a half awake stupor. Some I wrote from my journal entries when I was grieving my beloved cats death. In my opinion some are ‘eh’, B plus, maybe C——but others are quite good. A plus! Overall I like the book. It is a bit of a mini Memoir because within the seven chapters is my life story (told through these poems). It is a bit of a prelude to the Memoir. Two of my friends who read it said ‘Wow this could be a memoir. It definitely has elements of that and my goal is that it spurs people to want to read my next books.
In the midst of editing I keep coming up with new ideas for new poems (which I am happy about) . This proves that I definitely love poetry and writing. I do think book 2 and book 3 are now bubbling up out of me.
ONE FINAL FUNNY SNAG (RE -INSPIRATION)
Recently right when I was feeling that I was getting close to being done with the editing process I discovered a wonderful new poet online named Magenta Wise. I read her book titled “Messages are dancing in the rain’. I loved it so much and I got totally re inspired! ( GO GET IT ON AMAZON if you love poetry!!) It was crazy. I had been writing mostly simple poems (Dr. Suess-ish rhyme schemes mainly) but after finishing her book I started writing in an all new more interesting style. I was immersed with a whole new way of writing!! Thanks to her I have a new love and zest for poetry.
I wrote her and said ‘DAMN YOU!! Now what do I do with this almost finished book??’ She said ‘Just finish the one you are working on’, so I am. ‘They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Another quote is ‘Good artists copy. Great artists steal’ and I have been immersed in reading other poetry books from classic poets to the past to contemporary poets. It is a wonderful thing. I have been waking up in the middle of the night sometimes to ‘catch’ a new poetry idea, which I am thankful for. I really do love the act of writing. I know that writing should never be a money making goal. Its a hard and tedious life. I am not not doing this for money or accolades but for the creative expression of it. It is definitely a new calling that I am listening to in spite of any outside influence.
SO, I am off to my next edit and this book should soon be done and a reality! WOOOHOO.
If you’d like more information on this upcoming book please join my mailing list. Sign up here! The book will be available on Amazon kindle and also a real live book!
Here are just a few poems from my upcoming book:
LONG TIME COMING
It’s been a long time coming.