This morning it went sailing off to my publisher! At last. That is, the manuscript for my forthcoming craft book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop. This is the accumulation of about two and a half years of work, most of it culled from this blog and my monthly Poetry Newsletter. The challenge in doing this book was the organization of a good deal of material into a sensible whole. I spent a long time just staring at piles of paper on my kitchen table, thinking and thinking. Then weeks of outlining, rearranging, breaking one section into two, joining two into one, filling in some holes. Then the big job of compiling all the separate pieces into one humungous file on the computer. Then because I don't trust myself to proofread accurately on the screen, I printed out the whole thing and proofread, fixed, reprinted, proofread, fixed, etc. Numerous times.
While stylistic differences from one newsletter to the next don't matter, in a book they do. So I spent a lot of time making things consistent. What's the difference between "into" and "in to," "onto" and "on to." Did I want "line breaks" or "linebreaks," "free write" or "freewrite"? And oh my, which numbers should appear as numerals and which as words? Should numbered lists be indented or at the left margin? Some were one way, some the other. I had to take notes about how many line spaces to leave between different kinds of headings. Then go back and be sure I'd done it the same way from one section to the next. Finally, I reached the point where it seemed about as right as it was ever going to be and I said, Time to let her go.
That pile in the middle is all the previous print-outs. Obviously, I've gone broke on paper and ink cartridges. That pile does not include the finished manuscript.
This has been a long process—and still isn't over. I've spent months putting this book together. It's a different kind of challenge than putting together a book of poems. But it has been exciting and hugely gratifying. I have around 100 amazing poets in the book. I am so grateful to each one for his or her contribution. Names and contents to be released in a later post.
Now the manuscript is with my publisher and I will wait to get it back for some more proofreading after he whips it into shape. Yes, more proofreading! The book should come out this summer. In the meantime, it's back to poetry for me. And a celebratory dinner out tonight seems in order.