Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

How’s the Book Coming Along?

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.

Part of my mid-term outline

Part of my mid-term outline

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?

At work

At work

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.

My instruction book to put a proposal together

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!

8 Comments

  1. Wow! This is really interesting for me. I also live on a boat, I love writing, and one day I am determined to write a book about our adventures. I have kept copious notes, blogs, logs, charts and I’m sure I could do something with them. So I shall follow your progress with interest. I even started a blog a couple of years ago, telling the world that I was going to write the book. In the hope it would spur me on, but sadly, as you have expressed, other things tend to get in the way. You have included some useful tips and links and I am going to look at these now! Good luck with everything!

    • Thank you for encouraging me, Georgie. I kinda put this out there as well to keep me on track. By making it “official”, I should be harder to abandon the project, right? 🙂 Believe me, though, I do find a lot of excuses and other projects to lure me away from the real task at hand. But, the excuses on the boat were more valid. You really need NO distractions to write! What is the name of your blog? And of your boat? Happy sailing!!!

      • Hi Liesbet
        My blog can be found at https://georgiemoon2016.wordpress.com
        I blog about boats, cats, photography, writing, life in general. When we return to the boat in a month or two, the blog will be more meaningful as we will actually be sailing! Our yacht is called Fandancer.

        • Great blog, Georgie and interesting, recognizable context! As you wrote… what an exhausting life trying to keep up with it all! 🙂 While I should be doing more of what you are doing, I just cannot commit hours to it every day. You are doing so well! While you will have different subjects to write about (many of them) while sailing, posting every day might become a tad more difficult, because of other occupations and unreliable internet. Good luck and enjoy the boat life again!

  2. Ps, how do I follow your blog? Can’t find a button. Or do I have to send my email?

    • I saw you liked my blog (thank you), maybe you get notified the next time I post something? Which will happen either today or tomorrow if you’d like to wait and see. If you put your email address in the right column (subscribe to blog), you will get my blogs in you inbox and can read it there or on the website. Also, if you like my Facebook Roaming About page (also in the right column), you can see on Facebook when I post a new blog, since a link always appears on that page. Hope that helps. I will look into a like button for the whole website and not just each blog. That might do the trick as well…

  3. I am so psyched to see your progress here. Christine’s course sounds very valuable as does Maisel’s book. With all of the wonderful writing you have done so far, I am certain the book will be fabulous (albeit a lot of work). I can not wait to see how this unfolds.

    PS. I had actually read this post a few weeks back but didn’t comment because I have been crazed.

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Lisa. I just realized as well (again, actually) that I do have a whole bunch of stuff written already, thanks to blogs, articles, notes and emails. So, finding a lot of content shouldn’t be a problem. Turning it into a coherent book, that is another story…

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