Sunday, September 15, 2013

Rewards of the Writing Process

The graphic is to illustrate the basics of the writing process. I chose this particular graphic because it illustrates the steps in a concise and simple manner. Planning, drafting, editing, revising and publishing—the one word conspicuous by its absence is “writing”. Kind of of ironic, huh? Sometimes writing just doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

Currently, I am in between the revising and publishing steps of the writing process of my second book, More Kenosha Softball. Today, the Publisher Lady and I finished putting chapter 4, “Rick Flocker, Speed Merchant” into book form. That makes a total of 28 pages complete. Only 19 more chapters to go…

This book has been a lot of work, much more than my first effort, Some Kenosha Softball. But you know what? It’s going to be worth it. In fact, it already has been.

I first realized this when Gregg Hansen made a comment on Facebook regarding how much time I had been spending on the book. He told me that he hoped that I am rewarded for all of my hard work. I found that very kind of Gregg.

It also made me think about the whole writing process. The more I thought about it, the more I recognized that this process was much different than with the first book—much different. And, it was also much more rewarding.

That is what I told Gregg on Facebook, that I was already being rewarded.

The first book I wrote was made up of a lot lists with several short stories. Most were very short. Each chapter averaged only 540 words. There were only three over 1,000 words, the longest being 2,143. By comparison, chapters or stories in my second book average 1850 words with six over 2,000, two of which are over 4,000 words.

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my first book, very proud. I learned so much about writing, about the writing process. That is why this second book is going to be so much better, because of what I had learned from the first.

The most important thing that I learned from the first book was the manner in which I gathered the information. I’m not sure which part of the writing process this falls in, maybe somewhere between planning and drafting. Wherever it fits in, I discovered it is a continual thing. It’s an ongoing part of the process.

Most importantly, this step is best done in person. That’s the rewarding part.

Having Jack Zimmerman sitting on the couch for two hours telling colorful tales about his wild playing days and then having him call me back the next day and sharing 45 minutes more going over what he forgot to tell me the previous day. That’s the rewarding part.

Meeting with Ernie Pascucci, Tom Blaziewske and Larry Keating to exchange old photos and newspaper clippings. Having my friend Bruce Meyers, who was also greatest ballplayer I ever managed, come over and spend the better part of a Thursday night reminiscing. That’s the rewarding part.

Talking on the phone with Kenosha Softball Hall of Famers Gary “Wizard” Petersen and Chuck Lange to hear their tales about the good old days. Speaking on the phone with young stars, Travis Clark and Mike Umscheid as they traveled to Michigan for a Major Level Tournament, so that I could get their view on today’s Kenosha Softball. That’s the rewarding part.

I’ll never be rewarded financially for all of the time and effort I am putting forth while writing More Kenosha Softball. I knew that going in. The average writer, actor, artist or musician is never compensated the same way an auto mechanic, assembly line worker, plumber or dental hygienist is. Sad, but that’s just the way it is.

What isn’t sad is all of the gratifying experiences that I had while engaged in the writing process. That truly is the rewarding part. Until next time…from the booth.

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