Here’s an update on the process of moving toward publishing our book, Despair to Deliverance. We completed a final draft, and my nephew Daniel and I both worked hard at editing it. I learned that the process of taking out words and “tightening” the writing could be never ending. But at some point it is important to declare it “good enough,” and move forward in the process.
Robin, my nephew Daniel and I met a few weeks ago to talk through final changes to the manuscript before having a list of friends and acquaintances read the whole book and give us feedback. The meeting was actually the first time Daniel and Robin had met.
Daniel lives two hours away, but that was not the reason he had not yet met Robin. As our editor he purposely chose to wait until after he finished reading/editing the whole book before he got to know her. It never would have occurred to me that this mattered, but this is why he is a good editor. He wanted to be able to stay objective and know Robin only as the character in the book…like our readers will know her, so he could give feedback about how she came across. He is so smart (I am not biased or anything).
I was excited about the prospect of these two people who are important to me, and who have been working for a long time with me on this enormous project, meeting for the first time. I expected they would like each other and get along well, because they are both smart and funny. Other than that I had no idea what to expect. We really did not have a very well thought out agenda for this meeting.
It turned out to be a very productive session in which we talked through several issues that led to huge improvements, particularly to the ending of the book. As I anticipated, Daniel and Robin got along well. We were able to get revisions made to the final draft fairly quickly, and have now sent it out to about fifteen people who will serve as our preliminary “readers.”
It has been two years since Robin and I started working on this project! At one point during the process we had to take a break from telling the story on the blog (and from writing it at all) for many reasons including my mother-in-law’s physical decline and subsequent death, and Robin making a job change. That break lasted several months, and I learned that many of the friends and family who had been following the blog stopped reading at that point. When they asked about it, I told them not to start reading again, because we would need “readers” eventually to read the whole book once it was completed.
That was over a year ago. Robin, Daniel and I have been literally working in a complete vacuum since that time. Anyone who has ever written a book knows how crucial it is to be able to, finally, get some honest feedback from people who are able to be much more objective than those of us who have been immersed in the project and lived through the original experiences being described in the book. So, it was with some trepidation that I sent out a whole batch of complete final draft versions of the book a couple weeks ago.
We have already received feedback from a couple of our readers that has been mostly good. One person (my brother) gave extremely helpful suggestions in terms of doing some things to improve the book overall. There will be more editing. We want the final version to be as good as possible.
It is so exciting to be at this point. We can’t wait to have the book done! For those of you who have been following us through the process, I will say that the final version of the book is different from the blog. Some of what I wrote has been condensed. Robin has added to her sections. And, most importantly, the book will include the process Robin and I went through after the terrible year in 2003 that has been the focus of the story told on the blog. It will reveal the process of how Robin got from that year of despair to where she is now…stable and happy despite her significant and disabling mental illness. She continues to do amazingly well.
On a personal note, I am bladder cancer free for now. In April I will have the first of many upcoming follow up cystoscopies to check for recurrences. Regarding the car accident that occurred on the same day I learned I had “lesions” in my bladder, I actually do not yet have my car back. It has been almost THREE MONTHS, and they are still working to finish up repairs! I think I am actually going to get it back next week. I am still going to the chiropractor three times a week in an attempt to address neck and back pain from the accident. It is getting better, but it has been a struggle.
I am not complaining. The last three months have been stressful, but my husband and I were able to get away for a nice vacation just after we sent our draft book out to our readers. I will have my car back soon, and the pain is improving. I feel very fortunate that the bladder cancer was caught early and was noninvasive. My life is returning to normal.
I am grateful for those of you who are still patiently waiting for our book. I will continue to update you all on the process.
Oh yes, and in case you didn’t notice…I am now putting only one space in between sentences.