Writing: just the first step

Who knew how much work it would be to get a little Russian book off my computer and into the world? The answer: Annie Ewing, for one, every other author in the world, and Mike Peto, my writing group teacher, who never tried to scare us with the giant wall we were facing as we started writing.

It is with great joy that I can announce I’ve mostly finished producing a manuscript in 19 or 20 short chapters. But next, as I heard from Annie at iFLT 2019, there are many steps to follow. Right now, I’m in several steps at once. I have read the book in its entirety with a few students. I have read parts of it with beginning groups. A couple of dear friends have shared the entire text with single students, and one has taught a whole class with it.

A talented editor has worked through about the first half for me, making suggestions I could never have come up with on my own. She asked me to think about the purpose of every section. It’s hard to do. She made suggestions, but in the end, I have to look at the purpose and the piece, and make sure that they match. Can you hear my internal dialogue, asking why I have to do this? I didn’t know I was this lazy until now.

Another concurrent and scary step is sending each chapter out to a different Russian teacher who is not yet my best buddy, though some are becoming my idols as I speak, given their willingness to help. If you’re a Russian teacher and can help run a short chapter past a group of students, please connect!

And finally, I’m working on the glossary, even though I fear it will require a complete revamping if we change much. This is the most tedious task of all, given that every different form of every word must be defined, and any set phrases that will help also go in. Mike suggested reading the book, word by word, and constructing the glossary as I go, so that the meanings fit what I’ve written, rather than trying to make a mini dictionary.

The Russian words are bolded and in 14 point Cyrillic font. The meanings are in 12 point, not bold, but italic Roman font. Did I say “tedious” already? I would never have known to format this way, nor would I have known much of the other priceless information Mike has shared. Even if I were writing a book in English, I would probably sign up for one of his writing groups.

If I ever When I get through these steps, I will start working on illustrations. That’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Wish me patience – and many Russian teachers!

7 responses to “Writing: just the first step

  1. Wow!!! SO proud of you…that has been a good challenge. A lot of work on top of your Spanish teaching job. Are you still doing that this year? And how is your Spanish now? I’m up to 1670 hours total….still work to get 180 minutes a day of Spanish – mostly input, but at least 3x a week I have occasion to use it. Working under the premise of the 10,000 hour law…..


    • Hi Maria, I am not specifically working on Spanish right now, though I’m still teaching a half-schedule of what I was doing: daily online lessons for Pre-K through 6th grade, though mostly the 6th-graders don’t show up…So glad to hear you’re working on it! I read everything that shows up on my FB page in Spanish (I mean the posts, not the books!) and I often marvel at the fact that I can understand it. Nowadays I end up looking up Russian words for FB more often than Spanish ones. My husband and I are now working on Chinese with Terry Thatcher Waltz and a wonderful group of other learners. Last time, Terry said, “When you start learning languages, you find you have to start a new one every so often, because you get used to the ones that you’ve been acquiring. They don’t give you the same high.” I had to laugh. It’s sort of true. I never marvel that I can speak Russian. I’m impressed that I can comprehend Spanish, but I’m completely gobsmacked that I can understand three or four sentences in a row of Chinese.


      • Fascinating – your journey with languages. I really want to get to the point where I feel as fluent in Spanish as I do in French. I have an excellent base in German and will probably move to that at some point. And I took 3 1/2 years of Russian in college and would like to pick that up too…And then…as you are doing with Chinese…start a new language, from scratch. What an adventure we are on!!! So glad you can share this with your husband:)



      • OOH. Maria, how’s your current Russian? Would you be interested in reading through the little book? It’s not quite a beginner’s book. But I think you could read it relatively easily if you had 3.5 years in college…language stays in our brains…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michele – I would LOVE to give your Russian book a try.


  2. YOU are AMAZING. This was only a matter of time. I’m glad you are on the journey and have the finish line in sight. Of course, from what I’ve seen of other authors, at the finish line awaits another idea for a different book.


    • As it turns out, there was a switchback in the trail, and I am back to serious revisions again. But I can see that they’ll improve it. Just…so much work!!


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