What is going on with the book I am planning to write? Some of you might think that I have totally given up on that silly idea, which I brushed on a few months ago. I haven’t. Not yet, anyway… Writing a book takes a lot of time, effort, energy, prioritizing and commitment. Now that the excuses caused by living on a sailboat have diminished, I am still serious about this arduous project.
So, what have I been up to? In October 2015, Mark and I started house sitting and organizing our new lives. The idea of starting a website different from It’s Irie emerged and a name had to be found. Part of November was spent creating this website, “Roaming About – a Life Less Ordinary”, and committing to the whole book writing process. There is no better time than now – while I don’t have the distractions of full-time traveling – to pursue a work of non-fiction. Over the years aboard Irie, I took a lot of notes about what was really going on during better and worse episodes of our sometimes romantic, oftentimes challenging lifestyle. Incorporating and rewriting these chunks into a sensible and attractive manuscript will not be easy.
Only having experience with writing sailing articles, destination stories, blogs and a lifetime diary, I figured I could use some help with the organization of my budding book. During the month of November and one week into December, I worked on this book concept in earnest. I took a 30-day online outline writing course, called “We Create: Authors”, organized by Christine Gilbert. Every day around the same time, she sent a lesson that would require 1-2 hours of the participants’ time to complete. I took the class seriously and set aside every morning to do the exercises and build my outline. First from my desk during a house sit in Greenwich, CT, then from the public library in Newburyport.
After the first week of the course, I had to adjust my schedule, since the lessons came more sporadically, at a later time, or sometimes not at all for a few days to then arrive collectively. Still, the material was very helpful, I worked my way through the schedule and made the first deadline, two weeks into November. Christine promised to take a look at what we had achieved by that point. Despite sending our outlines back over a week later, her comments were helpful and valid. Because of all the delays, she agreed to postpone the final deadline with a week, something we were grateful for. On December 7th, my outline was ready for review again, after I wrote 90,000 words to describe what my book was about, with summaries of chapters, topics and remarks about the content and notes about the approach. While that is a lot of writing, little of it is actually “real writing”, ready to go into the book. And, who knows how much of this initial “skeleton” will be kept?
Encouraged by the course and motivated by the relative ease of explaining what I wanted in my book, I was eager to receive my outline back and get cranking. Unfortunately, Christine was busy with other projects. Initially, I didn’t mind, since December was chock-full with our house sit (and getting there) in Florida and the holidays. In January, I focused on my blog and some articles, and waited in vain for the outline review. Not one to pause my book idea for another month, I started reading “The Art of the Book Proposal”, a book by Eric Maisel that my successful writer friend Jennifer recommended years ago (and that I have had since) in Texas. It is a bit outdated, but I believe the concept is still valid. I have done some of the exercises to get back into writing mode.
At the end of January, I received Christine’s notes about my outline. I appreciate the constructive criticism and her suggestions are valuable. Now, I am ready to start the real writing process and construct an enticing book proposal. Our current house sit in Kent, Connecticut over the winter is the perfect place to be a recluse and focus on the job at hand. I just hope I can concentrate on the writing and that I have enough inspiration to fill page after page of interesting and exciting content. Knowing what you want to achieve with a book and doing it coherently are two very different things!