Saturday, February 24, 2018

On writing a book...

Writing a book and having it published has been a tremendously eye-opening experience for me.

One spends a couple of years in hard intellectual labor: pondering, researching, gathering, sorting, clarifying, outlining, writing, re-writing, re-writing, re-writing, fine-tuning, tweaking, checking, re-checking, fixing, re-checking, fixing, working with the publisher on matters ranging from contract negotiation to grammatical and editorial choices to font selection to book cover design (and being humbled and gratified by the publisher's deep knowledge on these matters).

Then, finally, the book is completed and released into the world. And one faces the harsh reality that a million books are released into the world each year and this one is just a drop in the ocean. But still, something that didn't exist before now exists due to one's hard work. Then comes promotion: trying to overcome the inertia of the world's indifference to what one has produced. And occasionally a kind angel with a blog or podcast swoops in and takes the book under their wing and champions it to their audience. And then periodically an email comes in from a reader expressing how helpful the book has been to them on their journey. And every now and then a review appears online reminding you that your book really does have value. The royalty check arrives in the mail and reminds you that you won't be quitting your day job anytime soon.

And after a while things taper off. The labor involved was more sustained than you had anticipated at the beginning and you're a bit spent. You move on to the next things--after all, it's been 2 or 3 years since the process of writing your book began.

Then, for some reason--maybe an interview request or an invitation to conduct a workshop--you pick up your book and read through it again. And you think, "This is good. I'm happy with this." And you also realize that you thought you were providing answers but really you were exploring your own questions. And the questioning and searching for meaning continues. And maybe that means you'll do it all over again. 



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