Monday, November 9, 2015

The lonely life of a quilt book author

or What I learned about writing a quilt book, pt. 4

While I didn't know what to expect about the process of writing a quilt book, it turns out I did have some expectations. I had expectations that there would be 'feedback' from the publishing company. I had expectations that people would magically appear and we could have a lovely 'back and forth' and 'which idea is best' and 'should I go with this color here or that one'... Seriously, I expected book angels to call or at least email me and share their creative opinions and listen to my ideas. I expected to be able to ask design questions, and get opinions on small details. I expected that someone out there would care about my daily dilemnas!!!

NOPE. Didn't happen. There was no one designated as the 'Oh here sweetie, let me hold your hand so you don't get overwhelmed or frightened.' There was no one who sat by and watched while I struggled to get the information formatted or the photos loaded the right way. There was no one there to stop me before I spent hours doing something the wrong way, only to be told I needed to do it differently. And thankfully, there was no one there to listen to my cursing and crying on occasion. That could have been embarrassing.

I have no idea why I expected that this process would involve other people. I chose my publisher because they encouraged individuality and personal expression. Duh. I chose them because they DIDN'T want to change my work! So why was I disappointed that all of my emailed questions were answered with 'yes', 'no', or the classic 'refer to the author guidelines'. Why was I disappointed that there were zero phone conversations? Eventually, I realized that I had gotten myself into exactly what I wanted all along. Total creative freedom and total content control.

Yikes. That's kind of scary while being awesome at the same time. I had total control to screw this thing up or to make it amazing. Panic... Deep breathes... Panic...Deep breathes... Repeat as needed...

And that's when I realized I was on an amazing journey, and I was going to push my limits, and learn things about myself that I not yet discovered. I learned that I can do hard things. I learned that I can lean on myself. I learned that my husband knows exactly when to pour me a glass of wine! I love that man. I learned that I could move quilts to different chapters and I could change the order of things, and I could make a quilt a different size or use a different border that I originally planned. I learned that I could just listen to the quilts and let them lead the way. I learned that I could add things and take things away as needed.

I even finished early and turned the quilts in on time. I turned the manuscript in ahead of schedule. I was so thrilled with the evolution and the process. I could look at these quilts and really see how well they demonstrated the ideas I was trying to convey. I could see how they flowed together and yet each made a statement on their own. I was so stinking proud of myself and my quilts and my manuscript!

It was several months before I was able to see what had been done with all of my work. I enjoyed almost six months of basking in my ignorant glory before I was faced with the reality that some of my hard work had been deleted. Some had been rearranged. Some had been changed. Really? So that's how this works? They take my masterpiece and just chop it up and toss it around? Yep. And guess what, they made it even better! The things they moved around made total sense. The things they left out, I'm still a little bummed about but hey, it's a book not a novel. They managed to take what I had given them and turn it up a notch. They changed very few actual words. But they did cut and paste what I wrote into a better version of what I was trying to say. Apparently, I get a little long winded, hard to believe isn't it? LOL Okay, you can stop laughing now.

The most important thing I learned during this lonely process...I can listen to myself. I can trust what I have learned. I can take a hard situation and turn it into a success. I learned that I can do a lot of things I never thought I could do. Mostly, I learned to believe in myself.

And that my dear friends, has changed my life.



  1. After many questions, after many doubts, after many crisis ...are you happy Diane ?
    I think you are !
    I think you can be proud of your work and as I told you on last post, you're ready for another book !
    Bravo ! ;)

  2. I am so enjoying this behind the scenes view. Can't wait.

  3. What a great behind the scenes view. I can't imagine how hard it must have been but your hardwork has paid off, congratulations!

  4. So fun to hear about your journey! I know just writing for a magazine is hard work and I also know I'd rather be quilting!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your incredible journey and giving us a realistic behind the scenes look of a quilt book author. It sounds like your hard work has pushed you to a level you never thought was possible. Great job.

  6. I can't imagine the enormity of taking on such a project. Glad you survived!

  7. amazing road you took; i would have expectations the same as yours (if i could ever write a book, and the answer to that is no way!!) BUT--I love books and read all kinds and I had thought that editors and helpers aided, huh??? i guess we all have those pre-conceived notions about how things (should) work...BUT--you did it, and you got it done and I hope you are happy with the end result....
    Congratulations Hugs, julierose

  8. Very fun to hear about this, but wowsers, my sympathies with your lack of hand holding angst.:)

  9. I'm glad to hear its been rewarding for you !


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