Taking My Time – Publishing a Book Series

Last summer, I
made a decision to not pin down a book publishing date for Finding Love’s Way. With all my other books I’ve had firm deadlines
but with this one, I’m giving myself the grace to let the book take its own
course for however long it needs. As authors, we have a tendency to rush things
along, to curtail the process because we’re tired of slogging through the
manuscript and want to be done or we’re so excited to see it published, we
don’t take the time to refine the sharp edges. Only later do we find the
errors, the improvements we could have made if we’d simply taken the time. Such
a book is often badly written and hard to read. No time was taken to refine the
work and remove the excess verbiage. I don’t want to let that happen with this
book and the difference I’ve experienced in choosing to not have a definitive
timeline has been, for me, refreshing. There’s no pressure; I can let the book
become whatever it desires and give myself the time to make any corrections
before it goes to print.
As this book is
so personal, so much about growing into the deeper meaning of love, by giving
it space, I’ve also given myself space to develop and learn. At different
times, I’ve let the manuscript collect dust so I can come back to it with new eyes
when I’m not so attached to what I’ve already written. By tweaking the words after
a time of rest, I better understand what each section needs, where I want to go
with each poem, and I can change phrases to form a more cohesive whole making one
poem blend into the next. Truths I learn in the latter half of the writing
stage can be worked into the first.
The other
tendency authors have is to let a manuscript sit so long that it’s never
published. Or we might have a hard time letting the manuscript go—we keep going
over it with a fine-tooth comb. Though I am all for the editing process and
making sure a book is ready to be published, there has to come a time when we
come to the end and release it. There has to be a point when we call it good
and put down the red pen.
How do we know
the difference between when a book is done and when it needs more work? How do
we know when to keep going and when to stop? For myself, I listen to that voice
deep inside that just knows. My
intuition has served me well. My editors, too, help a great deal. They’re good
at letting me know when something still isn’t working or when it’s ready to go.
I trust their advice even as I make the final decisions.
At this point
in the process, I know I’m far from being finished with the writing. There are
still holes throughout the book: three larger holes and thirteen small ones. The
poems are like seeds in a garden that haven’t sprouted yet. They need time to
grow, time to send down roots and mature. I don’t want to give in to the temptation
to hurry them along just to have a “completed” manuscript. The point I want to
get across would be scraggly, weak, and unfulfilling. After putting so much
effort into all the other poems, I want to give these poetry holes the same
treatment. There are things I’m learning and thinking about every day, pieces
I’m being given I know I want to include, new understandings to build in. When
they are ready, the poems will be there tumbling out of my mouth onto the
paper. They will be what they were meant to be because I waited, because I let them
grow until there were ready. Only by choosing to not have a publish-by-date has
this been possible.
Sometimes we
have to have a due date. There is no way to get around it, an article or book
has to be ready by a certain time. In this case, don’t put things off until the
last moment. Use the entire time you’re given. Give it thought and listen to
your editors. I am sure there will be books down the road with a tighter
deadline but since I have a choice with this one, I’m taking all the time it
needs. When I have at last finished writing and editing the material, I know it
will have been done right and done well. 
I’m excited to
see what a book looks like that’s had time to really come together in the way
it should. I’m excited to see what truths come out that wouldn’t have been
otherwise thought of. What will I learn through this process of not rushing
myself or anyone else helping me with the book? We move forward, certainly, but
the pace is steady with time to enjoy the journey.

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