This week, I’m getting ‘Thrive: the Bah! guide to wellness after cancer’ ready to go to the publisher. And so will begin the journey out of my hand and, eventually – well, in September – into yours.
The experience of this book is very different to the first. Partly, I think, because by the time the Bah! book got to this stage it had been through so many rewrites that there was very little else I could do with it (except wait for a copy-editor to improve it immeasurably). Whereas ‘Thrive’ is a newish manuscript, so there is plenty of room for improvement. It’s very rewarding to see it start to scrub up, I think, rather well.
I have to be careful. though, because another point of difference is that, with the first book, I couldn’t quite believe that it was really going to happen. Yes, I had a contract. Yes, I was going to lots of meetings where people were talking about my book as though it was a real book. But still, it all felt a bit unreal.
This time, I know what will happen: I know the work I am doing now is making the book that will become an Actual Book. People will hand over money they have earned for it, and invest time that they will never get back in reading it. OK, in the scheme of things, it’s not a lot of time and it’s not a lot of money. But it still matters. And I hadn’t really hoisted in, with Bah!, that that would happen.
So the process, this time, is slow and complex and meditative. I write for a couple of hours, and then I do something quiet – I knit or spin or sew or bake – and think about what I’ve written. Then I go back through the writing and make sure I’m happy with it. And then I move on. Slowly, gently, and always with the idea of thriving – mine and my readers’ – in my heart.
I think, this week, the book will be done. I hope it will be everything it can be. I think, too, that this process is teaching me something about how to work and how to be and, well, how to thrive. Which bodes well.