Last fall I taught a class called Let’s Write That Book: 8 Weeks to Writing and Publishing Your First Book for Lewiston Adult Education. It was my favorite class of all of the ones I’ve taught in the four years I’ve been teaching writing to adult learners.
I didn’t really believe you could write a book in mere weeks, but I wanted a class that was different than the previous narrative nonfiction classes I’d taught—one with a provocative orientation. It obviously worked because we filled the class and ended up with a waiting list.
The class was beneficial for me, as it lit a fire under my own ass and got me motivated to get a fourth book rolling forward. It was also the best group of writers I’d gathered for any of my various classes.
Here we are, months later and today, my print-ready manuscript goes to the printer, along with the cover for the book. I should have a physical proof in a week, and if all goes well, copies of my latest book, The Perfect Number: Essays & Stories Vol. I. It feels good to be back again, doing the micro-publishing thing, with RiverVision Press.
It’s not like I’ve been sitting around since last fall thinking, “should I publish, or not?” The Perfect Number is a book of seven essays. Five were finished when my class ended in late October. I still needed two more essays to round out the intended number of seven, considered a “perfect” number btw, in Biblical numerology.
Essay #6, is about work, moving to Indiana to follow God, and my return to Maine. It’s really how the journey of reinvention began and is called “Moscow Mutual,” mainly due to the insurance company where I worked for a few years during the early days of the 21st century, post-Y2K. You could say that the JBE was born at Moscow Mutual, but he was not fully-formed yet, back in 2001 and 2002.
The last essay, “Goin’ Back,” is about my hometown of Lisbon Falls and the changes that have been occurring. If you’ve driven through the town lately, you recognize it’s a bit worn around the edges. The 21st century hasn’t been kind to the town where I grew up and I wanted to write about the changes affecting many places like Lisbon Falls over the past 30 to 40 years. It was the most difficult bit of writing I’ve ever done. By the time these two essays were finished, the calendar had rolled over into 2014.
Then, of course, when you are an indie publisher, you have to then put on your production hat—there’s editing to do, at least a thorough read- through, and in this case, handing it off to someone who is a professional editor. She was terrific to work with and really helped improve the overall quality of my narrative and make sure I didn’t have a book full of typos.
The layout and design is the final stage and I’m really pleased with how the book looks.
When I teach writing, I want to walk my talk. I never ask my students to attempt anything I haven’t already done, or am working on myself.
Eight weeks might have been a bit ambitious, however, even for me.