Walking the Sea

Walking the Sea: July 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Question of Illustrations Rethought


As I’ve been working on writing the last 10% of the book, I’ve also given a lot of thought to the illustrations. Though in an earlier post I shared I would be creating a few drawings of my own for the start of the sections, I have gone back and forth whether to use a graphic of a labyrinth or my own art. Publishing a book is not a straightforward affair and decisions are often remade, choices changed.

When I originally decided to include my own illustrations, it was before I took my winter drawing and painting classes. Since then, I’ve fallen in love once again with the art form and joyfully look forward to each class session. A friend tells me my whole face lights up whenever I talk about them. I am truly, deeply happy with a pencil or paintbrush in hand.

You would think since I love creating drawings and paintings, I would be eager to include them in my new poetry book but I am not. I’ve realized over the last few months my art is the one thing I do purely for fun. All my other hobbies have also turned into work. I help lead our dragon boat team and am on the board for another. I teach the aerial silk tricks classes and my photography has been published in a variety of magazines and journals. I still love these activities but there is now a professional leadership component to them. It’s often not as much fun when you have to do something you used to do for the pure delight of it. And so I’ve come to the decision to not include my artwork in my upcoming book so I can still enjoy creating it. It’s a way to keep my joy just that: a joy.

Instead of my own art, I’m going to include a graphic of a labyrinth at the start of each section which will go better with the theme anyway. Then I can continue creating art with no pressure and no expectation. Just because we can do something doesn’t always mean we should. Sometimes, there are more important long-term benefits and drawbacks to take into account. This is a decision I have peace about.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Creating a Clean Manuscript

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For weeks, I’ve been working with a manuscript made up of my editors’ original papers all marked up with four different people’s edits. Having already entered all the changes in to the computer, what I had in front of me no longer reflected what the actual poems were. I needed to print out a clean manuscript.

When we’re in the midst of working on a book, at times we need to stop and take stock of where we’re at. How is it shaping up? What else needs to be written? Now that you can see the words without all the pen marks, is there more editing?

With one hundred and fourteen poems printed out, I went by a print shop and bought neon orange and lime green sheets of paper to stand in for section breaks and holes still needing to be filled. It was a relief to take out all the old manuscript sheets, which I’ll be keeping in case I need to refer to them later, and replace them with poems on clean white paper not marked up (yet).

With this manuscript in hand, I have a better idea of where I’m at and what else still needs to be done. Though not all authors need a visual representation of what still needs to be done, I like having something in my hands to look at. It is, probably, the last time I’ll print out the poems in this way. After writing the last sixteen poems, I’ll review the manuscript again and then start designing the book on the computer. It’s hard not to start the page layout now, but once a poetry book is designed, any changes have to be made twice: to the design file and the original Word document. If the poetry is nearly in its final form before I start laying it out as a book, the work will be much easier in the end.

It’s fun to see the book coming along in this way. Even when life gets busy and I don’t have a lot of time to give to it, I find encouragement taking little steps so I at least know I’m getting somewhere. Creating a clean manuscript was a huge step in this process as I look forward to getting the book into final form.

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