When I make jam, I pull out the Ball Blue Book of canning and check the recipe even though I’ve made jam dozens of time over the last several years. I crush the berries, dump in the sugar, turn up the gas, and stir. And stir and stir. I don’t use pectin to thicken the concoction, and I don’t have a jelly thermometer. I stir and after 30 or 45 minutes, it feels done. If I quit too early, I have berry soup. If I stir another two minutes, I have berry concrete. It’s all in the timing, and it all comes together—boom!
So this is my Writing blog, not my Farm blog, right?
I wrote a story on January 6, 2017. The story was 727 words. I added a few more words, and the name of my story became Novel Needs a Name. N3 became The Girl Who Saw Clouds last summer. I have a total of 106 versions of Clouds. Different people have read different versions over the past year. One faithful reader has seen every single one! We’ll refer to her as Saint Rabbit. Writers have critiqued different sections, and I wrote and revised.
I read Don McNair’s Editor-Proof Your Writing and followed his twenty-one steps. Clouds was ready for a copy editor. Not too soon, not too late. Now I have to leave Clouds alone and let the copy editor do his work; otherwise, I’d have Cloud concrete, right?
Yesterday I read Guido Henkel’s Zen of eBook Formatting and made blackberry jam. Today I designed the book cover. Only twenty more days before the copy editor’s work is due. Maybe I’ll make some more blackberry jam. Boom.