Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2015 >Daily Dispatch 85

April 2, 2015: The Writing Life: Boom

My ahh haa moments are usually related to one thing or another. Yesterday was an exception. My revelation came from seemingly out of nowhere. I was sitting at my desk, looking at my proposal. It then occurred to me to send my Material Matters proposal to Boynton Cook. I right then realized that, yes, this was the right thing to do. I went to their website – and there on the front page was a photo of Chuck Schuster, my former dissertation chair at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He was grayer and balder than previously, but otherwise, the same ebullient and gregarious fellow of yesteryear.

I then took a closer overall look at the site – as I did so, familiar names came to mind.

I’d always liked this press it champions process pedagogy – the focus of most of their books is on the nuts and bolts of the writing process.

A few years back I went to 4Cs, an academic conference that I had attended quite often as a graduate student and later, assistant professor. I said to Pete on the way home that I felt like I’d been in deep freeze in the years that I’d since done other things the third week in March. This was because I didn’t recognize anyone, and the overall focus was no longer on process pedagogy but rather on computer assisted writing.

However, in looking at the Boynton Cook site, I realized that process pedagogy is still alive and well – this publisher is now a small oasis in the middle of nowhere. So I’ve decided to revise my proposal and send it on to Thomas Newkirk, the publishing acquisition editor. He was a good friend of Donald Murray, who was my teacher when I attended the University of New Hampshire.

I later had an insight (this is a prolonged ahh haa moment), and this was that rather than sending out umpteen numbers of proposals to various publications and agents, that I’ll just send out one at a time. So I’ll get this one out there and then, after, I’ll revise and then get If Wishes were Horses out there. One step at a time. This will work far better for me than attempting to cover the market. I get overwhelmed when I do this, and consequently don’t do as good a job on individual proposals.

I don’t often have ahh haa moments/revelations like the one mentioned above. Most occur, though, when I’m sitting here, at my desk. This attests to the importance of cultivating good writing habits. This is akin to putting a fishing line in the water – if I don’t do this, I won’t get any work done. And if I don’t get any work done, I won’t get published. It’s as simple as that.

But now the hard part is ahead. Now I must revise – this, I know from past experience, is when my self-censor kicks in. I have a more difficult time reorganizing and reinventing that I do generating ideas.

My proposal might not be accepted. However, this will be a good thing exercise for me in that I’ll be writing for a very specific audience.

I’m ready to take on the big boys. This has been a long time in coming.

Next: 86. 4/3/15: The Writing Life: Material Matters

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles