Chudleigh Writers’ Circle Chair, Brenda Hutchings has been beavering away over the past few months putting together her first collection of poetry. It’s currently being printed and we look forward to bringing you news of the finished article in plenty of time for those Christmas shopping lists. But in the meantime, we bring you this week the second part in a series she has written about her journey towards publication.
You Can Do Magic…
“Limmie and the Family Cooking sang You Can Do Magic way back in 1973. They had feelings coming through and they sang about it. I had pages of spoken word and other poetry I’d written piling up and I decided to self-publish it. I ended my previous blog piece by saying how magical it is to have wonderful friends who really want to help you publish your book, and it’s so true. It is a magical feeling, especially this year when things have been so difficult and challenging during the pandemic. And, I think it’s fair to say, a bit of magic can go a long way.
I’ve always found mind maps to be excellent for many writerly things, and I used one to idea map what I thought might be worth mentioning for this self-publishing blog piece. Branch number two was effectively a tea break, but there were a lot of things on the map by the time I finished: Cost; set-up; overcoming fear factor; what to do next; help; advice; decisions; platforms (I had those in the seventies); size of book; cover; formatting; overthinking etc, etc. By the time I’d finished I had an oak tree. But there are a few things I would tell myself next time I have an inkling to publish any of my writing.
One of those would be to stop worrying. Note to self, number three: Do not feel that you have to do this all on your own. Self-publishing is all about learning how to do it and accepting help when you need it; especially when you’ve gone round in circles so many times even the laptop is dizzy!
Many friends of mine are connoisseurs of the self-publishing process, or going through the process at the moment. I can honestly say that their support and encouragement to keep going and get the book to a print-ready stage has been amazing and greatly appreciated.
There is also, of course, a huge amount of help online. But there came a point where I was overwhelmed with choices and I even thought about giving up and putting the manuscript back in the drawer to languish with short stories, more poems, a novel waiting to be edited, cobwebs, a glue stick and an invitation to…I’ll never know as the ink had faded. Note to self, number four: Do what works for you. Don’t give up. Ask a friend.
And on that note, I’ll finish. Branch number twenty-six mentions something about Dilly and Dallying. Were they in the charts back in 1973, or is that something I’ve missed…?”