It takes a village
November 5, 2014 § 6 Comments
I have two books in production at the moment, and today I had to write the acknowledgements for one of them.
As I sat quietly in the school parking lot, crafting those words of gratitude on my iPad, it struck me that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to raise a book too.
The process of writing a book is often compared to the jourrney of pregnancy and childbirth. The book starts off as the merest germ of an idea, and then word by word, you build it. It is shaped and moulded in the womb of your mind, and eventually you give birth to that final manuscript and the production process begins.
And that’s where the village kicks in. Because while I can string together a sentence or two, and I know a bit about layout, print production and marketing, the bits that don’t involve writing and editing are not my areas of expertise. And so I have to hand my child over to a village of co-caretakers, who will help to take the infant manuscript and turn it into a fully-fledged book.
It’s a magical process, one of co-creation and collaboration, and damn hard work, frankly. But it also involves a fair amount of trust and relinquishing control – two things I’m not terribly good at.
But oh, the rewards! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finally holding your own book in your hands, feeling its heft and the sharpness of hot-off-the-press pages; hearing the faint snap of the spine as you open it, and inhaling the fragrance of paper and ink. As a writer, nothing makes me happier.
So two of my written children are almost grown up. I can’t wait to see how they turn out.