What was your process for writing your book?

Oct 30, 2023 by Anthony Damaschino
Beyond The Blueprint -  - The Empty Nest Blueprint


This week’s Hump Day Q&A question wasn’t on Empty Nesting but writing. Initially, I planned on ‘Behind The Blueprint,’ my blog, to be about writing, my journey, and all things Empty Nesting. So, why not answer a writing question? This week's question is, “What was your process for writing your book?”
The first step for me was writing an outline of what the exploration of becoming an Empty Nester could entail. I knew I had my story, and I knew there were areas I wanted to explore, but I didn’t have the whole picture of what I wanted to write. This led me to step two, research. I googled, read, and scanned every topic on becoming an Empty Nester. I found the academic research papers the most interesting, so I read every article and took pages upon pages of notes.
Post-research, I reframed the outline to reflect what I discovered, such as Empty Nest Syndrome, Empty Nest data, and a new profound understanding of this stage in life. With a revised outline in hand, it became time to focus. At first, I would go to the Danville public library and sit and write for 2 to 3 hours. Interestingly, like taking up jogging, after a few weeks, my writing muscles grew and I found myself able to sit and write for 4 to 5 hours and eventually for 6 to 7 hours at a time. I guess one could call this ‘a flow state’. I listened to various podcasts on writing and book publishing when I wasn't writing. I adopted the standard advice I heard over and over from those who went before me to have an organized outline, sit down and write, and whatever you do, don’t correct as you go.
At various points over the next three months, I stopped, zoomed out, and reevaluated the overall outline. I kept asking myself, what I am missing, what should I add, and what should I edit. Draft one was completed in 3 ½ months. Draft two took another month and a half. Then, my four beta readers gave me a lot of phenomenal feedback, which took me another month to revise and rescope.  
All in, I probably wrote for six months full-time. The process took just over a year when you add up working with an editor, a cover designer, and more beta reading feedback, along with a few holidays and time-outs. Here are some additional interesting tidbits. The original book had eight chapters; the final publication had 17. I wrote over 25 pages on divorce in the US, an entire volume filled with statistics, data, and analogies. At some point, I realized it was a tangent I got on, and I ended up massively editing all that work down to six pages. It was a great lesson in focus. Sections on the boomerang generation, single parenting, and retirement were all cut. It’s easy to fall in love with topics, but at some point, you have to make choices and decide what your focus is and what you need to let go.
As I sit here now, I miss my days of writing. The book was launched less than three weeks ago, and I am currently consumed with all things marketing. My goal for the book is to help others; I can only do that if people learn about it. That means marketing the book, and myself will be instrumental in achieving my goal.  I do see a writing window in my future, however. I will carve out one for myself during the day so I can return to my cubicle at the library and write the second book and third project on my list.
Thanks for reading.