Three years later

book cover 1Late last night I sent across the foreword and the acknowledgements for the third volume of the Easy Money series to my publisher. And that I guess more or less completes the writing part of the trilogy.
What remains is the final edit of the manuscript of the third book, once it has been typeset. And of course, trying to get it reviewed etc., once it has been published.
I started the process of writing what was basically one book nearly three years back on October 15, 2011. It took me more than six weeks to actually start writing on December 2, 2011.
My contract with Sage was of a book of 100,000 words. When I started writing the book, I realized that I had terribly underestimated the scope of the topic. By the time I finished writing the first draft on June 30, 2012, I had written around 3.2 lakh words.
This I managed to cut down to 2.4 lakh words, after the book was anonymously reviewed. It was also then decided that the book was too big to be published at one go and needed to be broken down into three parts.
The first two parts were more or less what I wrote in the first draft. Of course, they had to go through many rounds of editing. I also added a concluding chapter to both the parts, to give them some sort of a contemporary flavour. In these chapters, I tried to look at events since 2008, from a historical perspective. In fact, without these chapters, both the parts seemed without a proper end, which every book needs.
I went back to the third part in April 2014. Initially I thought I would be able to update it in two weeks. But two weeks into the process I realized that the third part does not hold on its own. What I had written was a conclusion to a book and not something that was a book on its own.
So that meant I had to junk and rewrite a lot of stuff. This took me around one and a half months and I finished writing it by the end of May 2014. Editing it took a little more time. And I submitted the manuscript on July 12, 2014. Yesterday, the process was completed with the submission of the foreword and acknowledgements.
Writing what has turned out to be a pretty big book has been a fairly maddening and enjoyable process. Some adulation that has come along after the books have been published has given me a great high on some days. Nothing can beat the feeling of a person you don’t know taking the effort to write to you, after he or she has read the book, to tell you that they enjoyed it.
What has also been surprising is that many of my friends from school and college have taken time out from their busy schedules to read the book and honestly told me what they liked and what they did not. I really did not expect that. So, people do care at some level.
On the flip side, the process has also made me realize that we all need to make our own mistakes that is for sure It has also made me realize that I am not very good at figuring out the scope of work. What has been disappointing is little things like people who I send the book to review, misplacing it. The biggest disappointment have been relatives who have given away the book without reading it. I can’t blame them, they have held full time jobs all their lives.
Three years down the line now that the initial enthusiasm has ebbed, I guess I can be a little more philosophical about the entire thing. In the recent past, I have had doubts about whether taking time off for nearly three years and sitting in my room all day to write, has been really worth the trouble and the opportunity cost that has come along with it.
Honestly, if three years back, I had known that it would take three years(I had estimated that I will get done in one and a half years maximum) to write the book and that I would have to face the kind of emotional, mental and physical stress that I did, I wouldn’t have gotten around to writing the book.
In that sense, if I knew initially what I had set out to do, I would have never gotten around to doing it.
We live and we learn. Hopefully.