For those of you that don't know, for about the last 2 years (yes, I did say 2 years), I have been writing a new GCSE Geography textbook to support the CCEA specification. At the start of the project I was full of energy and excitement about what was to come and I got stuck in, writing away and trying to plan what I would include and work out what my book might end up looking like.
I never realised how much time it would take up, how much effort it would take and how much effort in particular I would have to spend in 'tweaking' the final stages of things before publication. It has been a long and laborious process.
Don't get me wrong - I have enjoyed the process. It has helped me as a teacher and has helped me think a bit more carefully about how I present information, facts and case studies to the students that I teach. I have enjoyed the freedom that my publisher has given me in thinking through the format and the layout for the book. I have enjoyed the creative process and even though it has meant many long nights and many hundreds of emails being fired back and forth between me and my editor - it has been a rewarding process. I am proud of what I have put together. I can't wait to see the final product. To hold it in my hand and flick through the pages, smelling that new book smell and know that this is something that I can be proud of.
I can't believe how hard it has been - finding sources for pictures, trying to contact people for copyright and permissions or finding photos and diagrams that will illustrate what I am talking about in a really useful, meaningful way (even though my editor took a lot of the heavy lifting!)
It has been hard for someone like me to keep going back and forth from one section to another - I usually prefer doing things in blocks but the editorial process has really surprised me. Its been slow. Its been painful. Sometimes I have had to listen to advice and take it when I did not want to. Sometimes I have had to stick to my guns to make sure that the book did not lose the flavour of me.
I can now understand why people who write novels can go slowly crazy. This wasn't a novel and in some ways, maybe if it was - things would be a lot easier. This is going to be about a 300 page textbook with depth and detail that hopefully students will want to use.
When I started doing A Level Geography in 1989, I got a brand new copy of a textbook that would change my life. 'An Integrated Approach' by David Waugh - was and still is the bible of A Level Geography teaching. I still use this tombe of a book today in lessons. Part of me wonders if in classrooms around NI, teachers will say 'get your Manson book out'. Who knows? I just hope that some students find it useful and hopefully it helps them know a little more about the fascinating world that we live in.
So, as this project gets towards the last hurdle . . . . the supporting revision guide has been started plus I might have a think about doing something for A Level . . . . I must learn how to say No at some stage in my life.