Notes about finishing a project. A long project. And, by the way, welcome back!

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DVD of the Novel in the foreground. My writing computer, 
Nastasha, in the background. 

I have this older Apple MacBook Pro with silver keys and I've been using it over the last three years to edit the final version of a novel I have been writing, on and off, since 2002. It's not really fair to say I've been writing it for that long since the bulk of the story and the writing was all done in that first year. What really happened is that the novel needed re-writing and editing and proofing and .... real life kept getting in the way. Some years prosperity delayed the work. The photo projects were coming in fast and furious and I made the choice to maximize my income in those years. Then the lean years happened and I concentrated on instant money makers, like writing non-fiction books about photography.

There always seemed to be a good excuse to do anything but finish the novel. A big job. A giant recession. The blog.

But I finally put my proverbial foot down and set a deadline. That deadline was 5pm today. And I missed it. But only by an hour and a half. At 6:30 pm today I turned over a DVD to my graphic designer so that she could design the looks and feel of the book in a program called, InDesign, and then convert the whole project to the .mobi format for use on Amazon.

This project is one of the most fun projects I have ever done. I love the protagonist and I must love the storyline because I've probably had to read it at least 100 times and I still like it. I still tear up at certain parts and I still feel the suspense in others.

But it's also been one of the most oppressive projects I've done because it never stopped. There was never a satisfying hard stop. And I'm used to projects that last a day, a week, or at most, a month. Not twelve years.

It's like knowing you should file your taxes but putting it off for twelve years. Things just pile up and the non-ending nature of it all means that the project is always right there, over your shoulder. You really can't start something new. You need that sense of completion.

I thought that this week would be a perfect one in which to finish once and for all. I stopped writing on the blog and I pushed most assignments into the future. But there is one project I just couldn't turn down. That was to shoot a video for my friend, Emmett's restaurant, Asti, here in Austin. Chris Archer and I had been looking for a fun video to do that included food and lifestyle and this one was dropped into our laps. We spent all day Tues. (until late, late) and most of the day Weds. shooting food prep, food cooking and all manners of behind the scenes restaurant stuff with a brand new Panasonic GH4 and a Panasonic GH3. So much fun.

And while I wanted to sit down and edit right away I was able to resist the temptation and work with discipline on the novel.

I spent all day yesterday and today putting in finishing touches and making sure the timeline calculated out. I fixed unintentionally changing names. I proofed for the 50th time and still caught stuff.

So now I'm done and my "team" is ready. Belinda is designing the look and feel of the book and making the final conversions. Ben and I are shooting all the components for the cover and I'm busy investigating the best way to get an e-book up onto Amazon. My procrastination is over. The ego part is done. Everything else is step by step mechanics.

The schedule? We're aiming to have the final, formatted design ready for upload by the middle of June at the latest. The book should launch within a week of that date. As soon as the copyright submission is complete and we have an ISBN number I'll start letting you in on what the story is all about. Suffice it to say that if you are interested in PHOTOGRAPHY you'll probably love the book.

If you have a wealth of knowledge about putting e-books up on Amazon, and you've been through the process yourself, could you post knowledge and guidance in the comment section here? It would be much appreciated.

On another note: I've spent some quality time with the GH4 as both a video camera and a still camera and I'm going to start sharing information about our use of the camera starting with tomorrow's blog. If you are interested in that camera be sure to stay tuned.

Thanks for your patience this week in dealing with a quiet blog. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to toss down the "novel" laptop, just over here to the desk and start banging away on something short and fun. But I must say that it was the process of finishing that made this all worthwhile to me.

I'm glad to be back. More to come tomorrow.

(and by the way, we lost two followers over the fallow period, if you are not already a "follower" of the VSL blog I hope you'll consider designating yourself as such. It costs you nothing and allows me to see that there really is a dedicated audience for what we share. Thanks!)

Studio Portrait Lighting


Cliff said...


Daryl Davis said...

Congratulations, Kirk! I'm looking forward to the release.

Carlo Santin said...

Kirk, have you had another set of eyes edit and proofread? I self-publish books, a few of them now, and my first book of poetry I edited myself. I must have proofread that thing 1000 times. There ended up being a single typo in it that I didn't notice until after I received my first batch of books from the publisher. It's always good to get at least one other opinion on things like sentence structure, word choice, punctuation and common typos etc.

Michael Matthews said...

Out of the way, Pressfield. Kirk's ninja leap and lethal kick has slain the enemy. Hah!

Patrick Dodds said...

Nice one.

Yoram Nevo said...

Would love to become a follower , but this force me to create a google+ account. And This google+ tends to spread it tentacles everywhere. So I will stay a follower at heart.

Sr71fxdc said...

Cool beans Kirk, Welcome back a silent follower

Joseph Kashi said...

The sense of being truly and finally done is something of an illusion for any non-fiction writing. We simply get closer and closer to perfection with each "final" edit. Hemingway, as an example, wrote the final portions of some novels as much as fifty times. A professional edit is often very helpful as professional editors tend to cut away every unnecessary adjective in favor of the single perfect word.

Dave said...

Jeez Kirk now you've added some weight to finishing at least one of three book projects I have roughed in! Scrivener sure makes it more simple though. Congrats on finishing the project I'm sure you've done an excellent job!