I wrote 5000 words about writing 100,000 words. Here’s my essay on In the Library with the Lead Pipe about thoughts I had on writing for print in an era of digital content.
I mentioned it on my personal blog, but I’ve finished writing my book and submitted the draft to my editor, Barbara Ittner from ABC-CLIO/Libraries Unlimited. Assuming everything goes well, it will be available at the end of January. This is the first time since April of last year that I have not in some way been writing this book, though most of the actual writing took place in the last six months. I lenjoyed writing and I am enjoying not-writing. Here’s a little bit of reflection on the book writing thing.
1. The book’s title is Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide. The book is already for sale on Amazon. This is sort of weird, watching its sales rank soar and plummet six months before its even available. I set up an author page there, but I’m not sure what to do with it. I’m aware that the book is expensive. I’m aware that I could sell it more cheaply if it were self-published. I know I don’t really need any of the statusing that comes along with publishing with an established publisher. I’ll probably grouse that I could have made a better cover. However, I don’t think I would have written this book without an external deadline, even though I think in many ways this is the book I’ve been “meant to write” for some time now. So, thank you to Barbara for suggesting it and helping make it a reality.
2. I really cocooned while I was writing. I stopped reading my RSS feeds for about the first time ever. I kept my IM client off. I’d peek at Twitter and try to remember to keep adding things to my blog. I sort of checked out from my online and offline communities except for work and occasional Twitter updates. It was an odd thing to do.
3. I woke up every morning determined to write at least 1000 words and would tell myself “I chose this.” but it was still really difficult. Some days the words just flowed. Some days 1000 words would take eight hours. I type about 90 words a minute, when I’m on a roll this would all go fast. I had to keep reminding myself that in many ways I am the expert on this topic and so it was okay to speak from a position of authority and not have to cite statistics all the time.
4. I felt like I was becoming a total dullard. “How’s it going Jessamyn?” “Pretty good, I’m writing a book.” “Still?” This became easy because after a while I just didn’t feel that I had the free time to go out. I’m working on re-entry, it’s going okay.
5. The book has my voice which means I say that some things work and some don’t. I’m sure people will have strong opinions about some of it and I mentally prepared myself for a lot of pushback, more than I will likely get. I make a lot of assertions about how I see the digital divide and what I think is working and not working to mitigate it. I hope people don’t get bogged down in nitpicking. I hope no one that I mention feels that I was uncharitable.
6. I asked for and received a lot of help from people–editing help, requests for pullquotes, some open Twitter requests for information, proofreading–and it’s weird to me that only my name will be on it. I have an extensive “thanks” section. I’m sure I’ve forgotten as many people as I’ve included. It’s odd, in a lot of ways the path I’ve chosen has room for a lot of showboating, doing public presentations, talking on my blog about what I’ve been doing or thinking about, and yet I get timid when there’s actually a situation where it’s useful to be all BUY MY BOOK.
That is the report about the book. You can buy it or not. I think it will be good.
As most of you know, I’m working on a book. As many of you likely don’t know, I can be a terrible procrastinator though I tend to deliver content on time if I can (my deadline’s been extended til June). So I’m spending the next few months being a perfectionist, noodling with Scrivener, and talking to my computer about the digital divide and how libraries and librarians can help people cross it. I may send out some queries for some personal feedback and/or anecdotes at some point.
In the meantime I’ll be reading offline more, writing here less, and not travelling out of state again for work until summertime. Thanks to the wonders of RSS, you’ll know when I’m adding more content here [and I've added my twitterstream to the sidebar] but I sadly won’t be heading to Computers in Libraries. Hope it’s fun.
Priscilla Shontz is looking for people working in libraries and related fields to write short articles on what they do all day. She has a good line-up but is looking to fill a few more slots. Check the call for writers [posted via pasta, also available here] and see if you fit anywhere. I’ve written for Priscilla before and would gladly to it again.