The joys of writing... and a learning curve in publishing
Updated: Jan 20, 2020
The book, Improbable Connections, began with a search for a link to ancestors who might have sailed to New England on the Mayflower. While I have not found direct ancestory to Mayflower passengers, I did find a 'cousin' relationship with Elisabeth Tilley (who married John Howland), and Mary Chilton (who married John Winslow).
Next came an investigation into the time period, 1600-1620. What was happening in England, Europe, and North America at that time? What stood out to me was that there were a number of events that had good documentation, but between the events there were significant gaps. What might have happened between the gaps? Or was it possible that some of the characters met? For example, evidence shows that Elisabeth Tilley lived in Leiden from about 1614 to 1920. Rembrandt van Rijn lived there at the same time, and was a year older than Elisabeth. What if they met? ...and so a couple chapters follow that imagined relationship. It was fun to write about!
The writing itself was mostly a rewarding expereince. The 'mostly rewarding' part was when I felt in flow. Time didn't matter. The writing flowed. If you could have seen me, I would have had a smile on my face, and my fingers were mostly busy on the keyboard. The part that didn't feel rewarding was when I spent the better part of a day with only a paragraph to show for progress. Persistance was needed. I knew it was important to put thoughts down on paper even though I knew changes and revisions would be needed.
When I started to write, I only knew a general destination of where the story was going, and in a few places surprised myself as to where the narrative headed.
Getting published is easy in one sense. I discovered that self-publishing companies really don't care about the quality of your writing or the story itself. They'll publish anything if you pay for it. Fortunately, I got feedback from friends and from IndieReview. Their critiques were very helpful, and led to what I think were significant improvements in the story and my writing. More on the publishing process in a later blog.