Several days ago, I completed the rough draft of the book I am writing. What a relief! I didn’t think I would ever reach this point and almost abandoned ship several times! Something drove me to the finish line, however. I couldn’t give up since I had too much time, energy, effort and money invested in the project. So now what?
The research portion of this project began over twenty years ago during the summer months I spent in Pennsylvania. Had I not been in Pennsylvania at that period of time, I do not believe the project would have ever taken shape. The lack of records and conflicting stories made this a long, winding road to travel. I would hate to count all the times when I exclaimed: “THIS CAN’T BE DONE!!!” Often such exclamations were followed by complaints about how I could handle so much material! Sometimes not enough information can be overwhelmed by too much information. Then the decision quickly became a choice of what to include and what to ignore. Other people had tackled the project before me. Their response was to provide a sanitized version of one line, ignoring the rest. Some of these early pursuers decided to pull materials from courthouses so that future pursuers could not find them, thereby denying people access to the full stories. Thank goodness State Archive personnel copied the records before the snatchers took them away!
To make a long story short: I decided to tell the full story. That’s why it has taken me over twenty years to research and accumulate the material. I didn’t start writing the draft until three years ago and was then forced to put it aside due to a number of interruptions. But with three major lines involved in the book–Inghram, Dean and Stillians—I had to keep plodding along. One question always led to another. Finally, with all my questions answered, I could draft my effort on paper and see it to the end.
Am I finished? No. The revising/polishing stage is now in process. Amazing how everything came to a standstill while I was writing the draft. My daily walk was placed on hold. My blog has been silent, or not as active as I would like to see it. My email responses have been hit and miss. Now with the pressure eased, I can take an occasional break. However, my night visitors still appear in my dreams, and I awaken each morning with a new idea for the book!
Do I have a self-imposed deadline? Not really. I’m looking at fall—September or October—whenever I can finally release it from my clutches and ship it off to the publisher. Until then, I will be writing—revising—rewriting—revising—writing–