This blog post is all about how I wrote my first poetry book ‘A Liberated Sheep in a Post Shepherd World’ inspired by the final copy proof landing in my hands this morning!!!
Why I Wrote My First Poetry Book
I love poetry and have always dreamed of the day when I would at last embrace my own book. Poems that I could share with everybody, including my family and friends. The happiness that I feel today is incredible! My confidence and faith, wholly restored. I have been bouncing up and down the street and walking around the supermarket with the silliest looking smile you ever did see! A natural high with a wonderful sense of achievement that on more than a few levels, means the world to me. This book has been such a long time in the making, more than thirty five years to be precise, so why publish now, here in mid-life I hear you ask?
Let me return to the beginning when, during my mid-teens, I first started writing poetry. Somehow I knew that my poems were vital yet at the time I didn’t understand why. Cherished, I kept them in a large brown envelope which I hid under my bed and even today can remember the importance I placed on packing them before I left home three years later. I continued to write poems into notebooks throughout my life. In all, I kept nearly two hundred of them, the majority of which have made it into the book.
Without a record of who I was twenty or thirty years ago I decided it would be difficult for me to discover who I am becoming today. As I neared mid-life, I had more than once thought, what will happen to my poems when I die, where will they live? I guess others ask similar questions about their own creative expressions. When reflecting on my mortality I noticed one clear question emerged, “What have I failed to express, to create, to write?” Then it dawned on me, I had not written ‘the poetry book’ and it was from this moment that I understood how important it was to complete this task. For the thought of dying before doing so felt too sad to contemplate, so I decided after my 50th birthday I would set about gathering up my poems.
How I Wrote My First Poetry Book
As I didn’t know anything about the publishing world I chose self-publishing. At the Blurb website I discovered I could make my own book for around £20. What joy! To have been born in an age where you don’t need a publisher to put your work out there. Ok, back to the book itself, I chose a chronological order starting with my teenage poems and worked towards my 50th year. The poems themselves naturally fell into seven chapters, I didn’t plan this at all. I then took the title of a poem for each chapter and put the poems in alphabetical order. I had already written a Postscript so added that as the final poem in the book. By now my poems were already set up in Word in the order that I wanted them to appear.
Next I downloaded the free BookSmart software from Blurb and began to copy my poetry into the pages provided. I designed the covers, added images and the book was finished (or so I thought!). Finally I checked for spelling, grammar and alignments and corrected quite a few mistakes. Why do I always put the apostrophe in the wrong place?! For my font I used Palatino Linotype size 10, with my poem titles I bolded them at the same size. When my book was finished I just pressed ‘Publish’ and my book was uploaded, a process that took around eight minutes. More trivia, I ordered my book in Trade size which is 6 x 9 inches, 15 x 23 cm with a soft cover, printed in black and white with cream pages, this seems to be one of the most popular formats for poetry/fiction.
Once the book had been uploaded it was ready to buy! I ordered a copy and it arrived around ten days later. Immediately I sat down (after whooping for joy!) and started editing it all over again, as when the book lands in your hands, trust me, you start noticing typing errors you’ve previously missed. I wasn’t happy with the front cover image and decided to re-shoot, which meant waiting until late spring when the lambs were young. That didn’t happen but luckily my partner had already taken the perfect image. By then (the following year) I had written more poems so I added two more chapters and, after more tweaking, I finally uploaded the new version of my book ordering another copy which has arrived today!!!
The total outlay cost for one copy was around £20 which included printing, shipping from Germany and home delivery. Worth every penny and so much more! Not a huge price to pay for the realisation of a dream. When the last of my poems were added, much to my exhaustion, ecstasy and liberation, talk about labour pains, I breathed out a deep sigh of relief as the book in its final form was born.
Journey of Love
Today I’m euphoric to see my soul journey in print for the first time. I feel truly blessed. It’s all here, my journey from fifteen to fifty within my one hundred and fifty five poems. Oh my goddess what a passage it has been to reach midlife with all its necessary crisis’s and corrections along the way. Each poem brings with it an element of self-discovery, revealing an aspect of my personality that had previously laid dormant. The gift of my journey is inestimable. Along these thirty five years I learnt the value of the ordinary, the richness that lay deep within. I learned to trust the process, keep my life simple and find my way home.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of “A Liberated Sheep in a Post Shepherd World” please visit the “About” page and follow the title link. For worldwide deliveries please hover over the union jack (top right) to find your own national flag, if you cannot see it there please click on the “other countries” tab. Good luck in manifesting your own creative expression. Prepare to meet the unfamiliar in yourself and if you want to see where you are going, ‘look back, look back, look back!’ Go after your beautiful day!
A Blessed and Happy Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox to all! Thank you for reading.
© Deborah Gregory 2015 (full version posted)