I have been asked several times “What made you decide to write a book?” The answer is that I didn’t decide, I brought home a lantern from a flea market one day and placed it in the floor, and so the book began. In truth, I did not know it would become a book . . . and at times, wonder still if it will ever feel complete, even after it’s shared with the world.
As I sat the lantern down on the floor, I began to think about the lantern and how its function was once so much more important than it is today; and I began to think about why that was. In typical writer fashion, when my mind wonders so does my pen, so I began to write; and what I wrote that day became the opening chapters in Terrebonne Parish. Sometimes, to me, those opening chapters feel like an essay (because that’s what they are) and seem out of place with the rest of the book. I struggled with that for a while . . . I still do sometimes . . . but it’s a part of the book; it’s the “why” of the book.
When I decided to share the process of publication with the world, I did it knowing the book was not finished. THAT was part of it — the process, I mean — and it still is. I want people to not only see what it takes to publish a book, but what it takes to write one . . . and rewrite one . . . and rewrite one. The steps to publication can be (except for those select few who dream a dream into immediate existence, sometimes by accident) a long and difficult road, but the steps to completing a book are just as long and — in my opinion — more difficult.
Everyone knows that the best writer in the world needs an editor; and that editor will have an opinion. Don’t think if you’re a writer that you don’t want their opinion, because their opinion is typically the opinion of every other individual who may one day read your book. Only
a writer the writer will have a full concept of the world inside them . . . of the characters and the plot. So, if the editor gives you advice about developing a story line or adding a character, you’d do well to listen. They’re only sharing the same thoughts and questions readers would have, and readers who are full of too many questions get distracted from what they’re actually reading. The best articulated words will not keep a reader engaged if they are preoccupied with other thoughts about the book. *Okay, so that tidbit was directed at writers more so than readers; and if you are a writer looking for more advice you can subscribe to my newsletter, which is full of writing secrets, advice from the greats and information on publishing companies who are accepting manuscripts. It also gives writers and readers alike a heads up on when a new post is available (including new songs and poetry). Subscribe by entering your email to the right of this page, then clicking “Join.”
Another question I have been asked is “How long did it take you to write the book?” And while it seems unfair to say I’ve been asked that question and then not answer it, I think I’d like to leave the answer to that question for another date — partly because I don’t want to discourage any writers who think they’ll start and finish their book within a few months (although I supposed nothing is impossible), but mainly because, as I previously mentioned, the book is not completely finished . . . not really. I will say the process has been longer than I thought, and I’ll admit that I have gone long periods in which I put Terrebonne Parish away, and then brought her back out. So in all honesty, it would take a mathematician to determine “how long” it took to write; having to determine the first day I began writing to the last (which again, isn’t here yet), then subtract all the days in which I didn’t write. But one day I will share with you the first date I wrote the first word of the book.
So, now you know! Or don’t, as the case might be. Which is okay, because this blog page is all about the process of writing and editing. Oh, I’m sure I’ll occasionally toss in my sporadic and off-the-wall thoughts, but mostly, it’s all about the steps we are taking to get “there” — it’s all about the journey.
For those who want to learn more about the book and read a synopsis, click on “Books” at the top of the page, and then click “Terrebonne Parish.”
I am all about answering questions you might have. I mean, that IS what this page is about: journeying together; so click on the “Contact” page to email any curiosities you might have, and I will answer them as quickly as possible. If you don’t mind, I may even share them on this page because the questions you have are often the same as another’s.
Let me end this moment of blogging by saying that I love each of you. I love you because you are here reading this right now, curious about the process . . . sharing in the same passion as I. I love you because you are choosing, at least in this moment, to learn . . . to wonder . . . to inspire, when there are so many other things you could be doing with your time. So, thank you for being a part of the journey.