« How To Know If What You Are Doing Is Hurting You? | Main

Letter From The Other Side: So, You Wish To Write A Book?

"Writing the book is the easiest part. Doing the proof reading and editing is pure torture,'' says Liz Thompson.

Writing a book? We all want to write books don’t we? It may be a secret dream it may be a burning and overwhelming ambition.

Well, I have just produced a book. It is a collection of some of my humorous stories, excerpts from this column and from a novel which I hope to have finished before Christmas.

Because much of the content was already written you may imagine I had most of the work completed and in many ways I did. It didn’t however mean that all was plain sailing.

Here are some tips if you are thinking of going ahead with your book.

Make sure you are as physically fit as you can be and your mind is as clear as possible. I found there were days when I struggled to fish words and information out of the porridge which my brain seemed to have become. Possibly when you are tired, there will be times when yours will appear to transform into a Scottish breakfast also.

Writing the book is the easiest part. Doing the proof reading and editing is pure torture. Why anyone ever wishes to be a professional editor and proof reader I cannot imagine. Horrible work, meant for masochists and people who enjoy self torture.

It is tiring for your brain, your eyes and your concentration. The mind knows what has been written and unless you are vigilant, your eyes will simply gloss over words which your brain tells you should be there but often are not, or are misspelt or your spell-check has allowed through something entirely inappropriate.

When you think you have finished, you haven’t. My advice is, put your book away in a drawer and let it wait for a month or two. Then re-edit it. You will be amazed how much work there will still be for you to do on it.

I was lucky to have a husband who is better with the technical side of the process than I am. Without his help I would have taken the manuscript, still within the computer and buried it deep in the garden, brushed my hands, put the spade away and taken up golf.

Finding the right picture for the cover after spending weeks trying to decide on the correct name was frustrating. Then uploading this and being told the pixel count wasn’t sharp enough…….screech!

Eventually the time came to load up the manuscript. Then reload after changes were made,… then reload again after more changes were made. Then change contents page numbers to match because the changes have altered the page numbers of the contents because of the changes made….. More screeching and much massaging of liniment into a stiff neck!

First copy is accepted. At last the product is under way. The proof arrives. Pure depression for days as you plough through the familiar words and pages as you realize you hate every word and wish you hadn’t started the project.

So many mistakes after so much editing it is unbelievable.

First shipment arrives. It looks great, you’ve done it. For a short time you are actually happy with your book. Only a short time, because you find more mistakes and well meaning and all knowing relatives gleefully point out even more. In retaliation you send them all a copy of the book containing all the editing problems….free.

Other friends and relatives you thought would be supportive remain as silent as the occupants of tombs after having received a copy. They don’t seem to be even able to bring themselves to admire the cover, or even the fact you are still a functioning human being and your marriage is still in-tact.

You look your book up on line to see what it looks like. The book is called ‘What? No Roast!’ and what do you find? Instead of being listed under ‘Humorous Fiction’ is appears amongst the cookery books.

Well, that’s another lesson for the next one.

Am I able to live long enough for a next one?

I’ll sleep on it.

Best of luck with your books everyone and I applaud you one and all. We are quite mad wanting to do it really aren’t we?


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.