Turning a Blog Into a Book (and Please Help Me Find a Great Subtitle!): Everyday Magic, Day 908

Yup, this is the photo that will wrap around the book cover. Thanks to Daniel and Ken Lassman for taking it together.

My posts are fewer and further apart at the same time that I’ve been thinking about this blog more than ever. That’s because I’ve been working on Everyday Magic, the book based on this blog. As with most things, it’s more work than I imagined, but a lot more fun too.

The first phase was wandering through over 900 blog posts to figure out what top 250 or so posts should make it into the book. Given the limits of what my mind can hold, let’s just say there were charts, lists, categories, earnest struggles between ego and what makes for perhaps better reading, then most lists and charts.

From there, I moved to revision land, a place many roads and bike trails lead to, but few seem to lead back out again. Revising a piece of writing is like weeding a vegetable garden so large that by the time you get from beginning to end, there’s been a monsoon and invasion of rabbits. What you thought was there is long gone, and what you cleared is now suffocating the once towering broccoli. Commas invade or seem to run off together in a huff, and then there’s the surprise gaps between sense and nonsense. I also wanted to find a good balance of funny and tender, hot and cold (literally with so many posts on weather), grief and joy, charged news of the day and breezy observations of a sweet evening.

Once I finished with that — although finishing is always an arbitrary moment a writer lifts her hands to the sky, and says, “enough….I think” — it was proofreading time. Thanks to my friend Rosalea, I relocated the herd of commas as well as easing out excessive bouts of verbiage. Punctuation can be illusive, people, so be on the watch. It’s also amazing common to type the word “the” as “the the.”

Now the book is with my publisher, Tracy and her fine Meadowlark Press, where more proofreading is surely a thing, then design, proofs, galleys, and hopefully enough time and clear eyes on the pages to catch what needs to be caught. Eventually this fall sometime, the book moves out of my house and into a dorm room of its own, hopefully remembering to go to classes and stretch its legs into its new life.

The view from here and now

There’s also been an adventure in revisiting the stories I tell myself and obviously you, the kind and patient reader. While there have been moments when I had to hit my forehead with my palm, despairing that I’m still hung up on the same meaningless crap (will I ever completely give up of yearning to lose weight?), there’s also been ample revelations about how outrageously blessed I am to be part of my family, community, the prairies of Kansas, and at this moment, the woods of Vermont that I’m sharing at just above the top of this computer. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

P.S. I’m still searching for a subtitle for the book. If you can help me figure one out, I’ll send you a free book once it’s out. Contenders currently are the following. Please feel free to say which you like, and/or to suggest other subtitles.

  1. Everyday Magic: Fieldnotes on Ordinary and Extraordinary Curiosity, Beauty, and Surprise
  2. Everyday Magic:: Fieldnotes on Curiosity and Charm in Life’s Wild Tumble
  3. Everyday Magic: True Stories in Search of Curiosity and Wonder
  4. Everyday Magic:: Living with Beauty, Verve, and Surprise
  5. Everyday Magic:: Curiosity, Beauty, and Surprise, One Blog Post At a Time

Update Aug. 31, 2018: Thank you everyone for your great suggestions! I’m going to go with Maril’s subtitle, which is pithy and comprehensive: Everyday Magic: Fieldnotes on the Mundane and the Miraculous.


12 thoughts on “Turning a Blog Into a Book (and Please Help Me Find a Great Subtitle!): Everyday Magic, Day 908

  1. lstott2aolcom says:

    Best wishes with your book–lovely cover for lovely work! “Living with Beauty, Verve, and Surprise” sounds best–though I really like the phrase “Life’s Wild Tumble.” Even “Living with Beauty and Verve” sounds good. I think a book as poetic as yours will be should have an energetic, though informative, subtitle.

  2. pennyspages says:

    I am so excited to hear you are doing this! I have been working on a blog-to-book concept myself. I actually like the last one because it is simply what the book is in content and focus. I can’t wait to read the final result!

  3. Debbie says:

    Subtitle suggestions: Finding Wonder As I Wander; Wonder In The Wandering; Wonder In The Wandering Through This Sometimes Hard (But Always Good) Life

  4. marilc22 says:

    Hi, Caryn,

    I went back and browsed some stuff on your blog. Here’s a suggestion for the title – the words actually come from a review of your book The Sky Begins at Your Feet – but I think they describe what your blog tries to do:

    Everyday Magic: Fieldnotes on the Mundane and the Miraculous

  5. Individual Poet says:

    Love all these responses, everyone! I’ll be more in touch as I go, but I do especially like what you have Maril.

  6. bookantics says:

    How about Exploring the Mundane and the Miraculous or working with important tag words… Exploring the Mundane and Embracing the Miracles.. Maybe better sounding and more visually pleasing is…..
    Embracing the Mundane and Exploring the Miracles….
    Yep. I like that best.

  7. bookantics says:

    Okay.. just googled most looked up words in google Translate and translator are both high on list… so how about… ..Embracing Miracles and Translating the Mundane OK. I quit!

  8. Tyler Sheldon says:

    Please choose option 2, Caryn! It’s perfect–a good mix of verve and thorough description!

    Or maybe: “Everyday Magic: Fieldnotes for Wondering and Wandering The Heart the Heartland”?

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