Publishing/ Writing

Looking back.

I was trying to hunt down the date for an upcoming event I’d managed not to get into my calendar, and searched my email for the name of the person organizing it. The results went back to 2005 — my first year using Gmail. (Before that it was Pine, because I am exactly that old-school.) I found myself drawn in for a while, rereading old messages.

There was a time when I made a practice of rereading my old email on a regular basis — when I got, and sent, significantly fewer messages. The exercise was not unlike rereading old journals, but instead of being a record of private fears, it was a way to examine how I presented myself to the rest of the world, or rather the subset thereof that I was emailing. I haven’t done it in a very long time.

Today as I reread, more than anything else I felt like I was getting a sense for how long it actually takes me to complete a book: researching, drafting, revising, the back-and-forth of editorial comments, copyediting, and, eventually, promoting the finished product.

It was both daunting and comforting.

Daunting because so far it’s always been a more drawn-out process than I wish it were.

Comforting because there’s clear evidence that it is a process which does, eventually, conclude. Though by the time it does, it’s already started again for the next book.

It also happens much farther below the waterline than it once did. And as I saw in my rereading, it takes place largely in emails rather than blog posts. Precisely because I can’t predict how long it will take me to go from idea to book, I no longer like to post a lot about the details of where I am on a project.

But every so often I feel compelled to assure the folks who read this (and remind myself? probably) that I am writing. And not just blog posts, either. Going to turn off the Internet and write some more now.

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  • Claire Hennessy
    October 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I am glad you are writing. :)

    >> I no longer like to post a lot about the details of where I am on a project. << I'm very wary of this too – I find myself holding back an awful lot about where I'm at with anything, until it's at almost-publication time. Giving too much away during the writing/revising stage feels… not dangerous, exactly, but leaving far too much potential for feeling the need to later justify time taken or changes made.

    • Sara
      October 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      I think it kind of can almost be dangerous, for some values of dangerous — like if you ‘promise’ something that you then aren’t able to deliver, or you report something that is true as far as you know, but then something changes because so much about the process is not actually within your control.