Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Quest for Closure

By working every day over the break, including the holidays, I managed to get to a reasonable first draft for my upcoming book, Gem Trails of Oregon. The book is a list of 101 top rockhounding spots in Oregon, complete with photographs, maps, and write-ups. Getting to a good place in the end game feels good.

It wasn't pretty -- I was up until four in the morning some nights, and the pressure I put on my family was a bit extreme. But I managed to do it without causing my wife to file for divorce, so I can nearly claim "Mission Accomplished." If this was my full-time job, I wouldn't have to worry so much about squeezing in time for writing alongside walking the dogs, attending family functions, and keeping a household going.

On the other hand, it helped that my day job went on winter break at just the right time. Plus teaching is on holiday, so there weren't any distractions there, either.

Now that I have a printed copy of the entire book, I see a lot of things to fix. Several maps need more work, the print quality is low, and some of the headings are off. But the text is in good shape, and there is a lot of research material for each locale to assist the corporate map-maker. He was slowed down a lot on the Washington book just trying to make sense of everything. I created subdirectories this time with Google maps, topographic maps, and any brochures I could find.

The last days were pretty fun, actually. I had a photographic "studio" set up to take detailed pictures of some of the crystals I found over the summer. Plus I had all my samples out, to make sure the write-ups were accurate. I had maps all over my home office, and piles of books. The whole thing seemed to reach a crescendo right as the University of Oregon was creaming Southern Florida in the Sun Bowl. As the score mounted, I started cleaning up, putting samples away, and taking down the lights for the studio. I folded up a few maps, archived everything off onto a trusty USB drive, and went out for a New Year's Eve party. The next day, I went in to work and used the powerful two-monitor system there to finish off the last map and make a print.

Over the last 24 hours, I've amassed an entire page of corrections to make, but I already begged for forgiveness from the publisher and got an extension to hand everything in over the weekend. more final push and I should be able to relax. A little.

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