Where’s Miryam?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson


Photo: dogman!/flickr

DebbyKoz thought it might be a good idea if I told those who wonder where I am and why I’m not posting.  I’m touched that people have written to her, asking.  Here’s the scoop.

I’m not hiding.  I didn’t go away.  I’m not on strike.  I’m writing a book proposal, the necessary precursor to writing a book.  My head is full to bursting with material I have to cram into the proposal. It would be fair to say I am obsessed. I don’t have head space for anything else right now. It won’t be that way for much longer — maybe a month. Maybe two, but I hope not.

Herewith I offer those interested a peek into how a book comes into being.

You get an idea (or, as in this case, someone comes to you with an idea and asks you for help in implementing it.) You do the research necessary to anticipate and answer questions from the agents and/or publishers to whom you will propose writing the book and getting it into print, questions about why they should help you make that happen.

Over the past 20-or-so years I’ve developed a book proposal format that is batting 1000 — nine  proposals, nine book sales — but that doesn’t keep me from being squirrely about the next one. I always think my last book is my last book.  Hence the obsession when I’m writing a new proposal.

I have a writing partner on this project.  He’s a professor of neuroscience with dozens of scientific journal articles to his credit. Despite all the writng he’s done and the  recognition he’s earned, he’s one of the most down-to-earth people I know.  And he is smart enough to recognize that, while he can write for scientists, he can’t scale down to writing for a lay audience.

That’s my job.  I’ve earned my living since 1983 translating first Engineer, then Doctor, and then Scientist into plain English.  I became a freelance writer because I wanted to get people to pay me to learn. I love my job.

I also have some inside knowledge, so to speak, of the subject of the book — obesity — that my enviably slim writing partner doesn’t have.  I’ve collaborated before, but this partnership is the professional analog of a marriage made in heaven.

This won’t be a diet book, or a book about how diets don’t work (trust me — they don’t). We want to show how we have come to the point where about two-thirds of Americans are overweight and, of them, more than half are obese. We want to make people worry about the huge increase in obesity among children, even preschoolers.  We want to make them angry about why this has happened — angry enough to be driven to take action. We’ll set out things that people can do, as individuals and in community groups, to turn this trend around.

Want to know how obsessed I am about this?  I set out to write a paragraph telling you I haven’t gone away and don’t intend to.  And look what I’ve done.

I’ll post from time to time over the next month or so. Then, while the proposal is making the rounds of agents and publishers, I’ll be back on a regular basis.  When (if) the book sells … well, I don’t want to give myself a canary. We’ll deal with that when (if) that glorious day arrives.

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2 Responses to “Where’s Miryam?”

  1. I check in to this blog daily–first and only blog-reading for me–to see what Miryam is writing and really miss her voice. Thank you, Deb, for nudging her to explain.
    Meanwhile I am appreciating hearing other voices.

  2. What Dorthee said.

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