The story behind the story, part two: Writing the thing

Writing up my Notes

Writing a book about horsetraining

July 2019: How to turn this into a book?

The first year of Helgi’s time with me is over, the diary I’d planned for is done. I have a ton of notes that need to be sorted through, and edited into a cohesive whole. But not yet. Let’s just put this aside for a few weeks and come back with a fresh eye.

September 2019: Back to work

Okay, this was more than a few weeks, and my eye is certainly fresh now. Let’s dig in and turn this into an actual story. Feeling energetic and highly motivated, I take out my notes and settle in to work.

October 2019: More difficult than I thought

Oh dear, these notes are a total, completely unreadable mess. Even I can’t make heads or tails of them, so how is anybody else supposed to? Let’s put them away again and see if I figure out how to make sense of these notes.

November 2019: I may be able to salvage this

Once I got over the first shock of reading through the notes, I’ve fought my way through all of them, and marked five training sessions in every set of two months over the course of the year that are worth writing about. I’ve also figured out that I need to re-write the whole thing from scratch, since there is no way I can edit my original notes into something readable.

Turning my notes into a readable book

Writing a book "on the side" takes a lot out of the writer

December 2019: I need more time to write

I’ve written an introduction that I’m fairly happy with, and re-written the first few weeks to make them at least marginally fun to read. Johanna has read through my efforts and is okay with the result.


But it has been very slow going.


At this rate, it’ll take a decade before the book is anywhere near ready. I talk to my boss about a possible hiatus next year to finish writing the book.

June 2020: Now I can write!

The hiatus is finally here!


I dig in with a will, and slowly, almost two years after we came up with the idea of writing it, something resembling an actual book emerges from the chaos.

I took a hiatus to write that book

To create a good book on horsetraining, you need so many photos!

August 2020: Photos. I need more photos!

Knowing that I would write a book about Helgi’s training, we’ve taken a lot of photos over the course of that year and beyond. But when I look through the hundreds of photos on my hard drive, I realize that while we do have quite a few good ones that we want to have in the book, there aren’t nearly enough to feed the voracious hunger for illustrations that the book seems to be developing.


So, photo sessions. Those are fun, and, about a couple of thousand photos later, we have almost everything we need for the book.


Thank goodness for electronic photography – I do not want to imagine the mountain of paper we’d have produced back in the day of film rolls.


December 2020: I have a book. I think.


Wow, writing a book is work. (Well okay, no surprise there.)


It took the three-months hiatus, and then three more months of writing in the evenings and on the weekends, but now I have a first draft of something that may one day become a book that I can let some someone read without cringing in shame.


Commence edits.



When you're finally done writing the book, the real work starts: editing

If you'd like to read more about the process of writing a book, stay tuned!


The next installment will talk about the editing process, and feedback from beta readers.


Spoiler: Editing is hard work!

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