I have just completed a major project with a well-known educational publisher. I can't say too much about the content, but I can say that it nicely amalgamated my fiction and non-fiction writing.
What I hadn't bargained for when I took it on was that it would take a while to get started. It took the editor I was working with and myself a week or two to settle on what exactly we were trying to achieve. There was a slightly late start, as I was away for the first two weeks of the allotted time. It was tight anyway. I have produced four books since the beginning of October 2004 The first is 10,500 words long, the second 11,000, the third 12,000 and the fourth 13,000. I guess that's as it should be. They are for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively. That's actually the equivalent of a medium-sized children's novel.
Then it took me twice as long to produce each section as it normally would for either fiction or non-fiction. There were lots of restrictions. I had to combine a tight word count with a brief of producing the factual items in a specific way. I had to be funny at least fifteen times in every book. Also, there was some tedious, but easy writing of glossaries and answers to puzzles and exercises.
At times, I said "Never again." Now, I'm glad I did it. I emailed the last section on 29th of December 2004. A hard copy and copy on disk went in the post on 31st of December. There will be more editing to do and proof reading, of course. Already, Books 1 and 2 are with the designers and 3 is partly edited.
They are going to be good. I've also got a couple of chums working in other subject areas, and they have been a great support. They are both successful writers in their own areas, but also still approached the task with trepidation. That was encouraging. It was also very gratifying to be told I actually also encouraged them.
This was quite an experience for me. Normally, I have more than enough ideas. This time my self-discipline was stretched to the limit. I would sometimes sit down at my workstation, not knowing at all what I was going to write, but also knowing that it would come. It always did. Oddly, though, the editor rejected sometimes things I thought worked really well. Other times, those bits and pieces about which I was unsure were actually accepted without comment.
I'm glad it's over. I'm also glad I did it.