About half way through the audio greeting from Marvis on the home page of our website, you can hear Marvis say “I have a book coming out, Jamie has been working on it for I don’t know how long”. Marvis, who takes what life hands him in stride, doesn’t keep track of such things and doesn’t worry about them either. Me, on the other hand, I’m just a little bit more uptight about deadlines (even if they are self-imposed) and I can tell you exactly how long we have been working on the book (more about that later). After all, I look at that count down clock everyday when I open the e-mails to the website and if nothing else it reminds me just how fast time flies (when you are having fun or writing a book!). 141 days?
So here’s the math: Marvis and I started the book two years and eleven months ago, almost to the day. It took us nearly four months of interviews and conversations before the first word was put to paper, then enough additional words poured out to give us the rough draft to chapter one (you can hear a reading of it on the home page). Individual chapters were slow to come but an outline for the entire book was finished after about a year’s time and hasn’t needed much adjustment since. The interviews and conversations we have had, if written down verbatim, would fill volumes. But just as the maple sap collector boils away so much water to get to the syrup, the writer has to strain a sea of words to get to the story. “Straining” for this book has been easy because the story is so great and so easy to see. 141 days?
So, after two years and eleven months, almost to the day, the text of the book is nearly done. Hallelujah! But, because the story is almost done, is it a book yet? Well, even setting the entire publishing part of the process aside, here are a few of the things that still have to be done: copy editing (good grammar please), fact checking (was that really what he said?), photo selection (aww, Marvis, you were so cute when you were a kid), cover design (that ought to get your attention), foreword (“and the mystery foreword writer is…”), afterword (by yours truly), credits page (expert witnesses), back cover design (that ought to keep your attention), acknowledgments page (thanks Mom, Dad, Sis…), table of contents (that’s in there?), index (that word is in there…twice?), etc. (and so on). 141 days?
Thinking of all that Marvis and I have done so far on the book, yet all we still have to do somehow reminds me of the time a new employee at our store kept making suggestions to my son of things I could do to help the two of them close the store quicker. My son, knowing I had a huge list of “owner” things to do myself, kept telling the new employee “No, my dad can’t help us with that”. Finally, after about ten of his work suggestions for me were vetoed by my son, the exasperated but naive new employee barked out “well, what does he do around here, anyway?!”. 141 days!
Until next time, Jamie