On Writing a Book: Editing

On April 15th I submitted the first draft of my manuscript- 75,000 Microsoft words that expose my crazy in print. Writing that draft was overwhelming. cathartic and satisfying. I put 27 years on paper. All of the vulnerability, the awkwardness of growing upward and growing outward, every last embarrassment, the proud moments, the times I considered Oreos an essential food group- they’re in there. Last week, that manuscript arrived, heavy and overbearing, in my mailbox.

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My editors, bless them, are wonderfully honest and I love that; I do. They said it was a true joy to read. They assured me, Your writing, your style- they’re lovely. Lovely.That area is beautiful as it is. The work will be a matter of expanding on ideas and stories and characters.

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I’ll be adding detail and backstory to the parts that seemed hazy, the dusty moments I barely swept over. And really, all of the red ink I found on this draft- it made perfect sense; it was undoubtedly the right advice. The areas I felt shaky in writing are underlined. Dig deeper here. The areas where I tiptoed, they urge me to trudge through. The places where I made generalizations are caution-taped.

Their notes were spot on.

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It’s strange and wonderful to write a book. It’s even stranger to write a book about yourself. The level of introspection is unnerving. I wonder- Am I looking in a mirror or am I painting a portrait of myself? Does objectivity exist at all here? Do I like the main character in spite of her eccentricities or because of them? How many times is too many times to mention peanut butter and fluff sandwiches?

What I struggled with in writing it- How to condense a lifetime, how to describe food as both my protagonist and antagonist, how to make the story weigh as much as I did and do?

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I’m working on these still. What’s interesting about this blog is that I often feel like I’m taking my clothes off publicly. I can’t think of many things I wouldn’t- or haven’t– exposed about myself. But the book deserves even more. The book should be even more intimate than what I do here. And trust me- it will be.

Let round 1 of edits commence.

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46 thoughts on “On Writing a Book: Editing

  1. sheila

    I am so excited for your book! Seriously, your writing is rich like the best chocolate and I eat up every single word. What an accomplishment this finished book will be for you and it must be such a cathartic experience. Sending you good editing vibes!

    Sprinkle Teaching Magic

  2. shawnessy

    I can’t wait to buy and read it. Thank you for sharing your story so openly. Making yourself vulnerable is a hard, hard thing to do.

  3. Erica

    I’m so glad you’re writing (to us) again. Don’t get me wrong, I love your creative voice in your recipes, but I’ve missed hearing from you. Good luck with your edits!

  4. Ashlea

    Congrats!! Writing a book is such an amazing accomplishment. You are truly an inspiration and I applaud you for your hard work. Keep it up!! Oh, and I will definitely be buying a copy and recommending it to EVERYONE when it comes out!

  5. LG

    Go girl!!! That sounds like a lot of work, but SO worth it…

    One of the best books I’ve ever read on writing was, ahem, “On Writing” by Stephen King. Part memoir, part instruction book. Excellent read! (And I’m not even a writer!)

  6. T

    So, so, so excited about this. I look forward to your blog posts and will indulge wholly in your book. Thank you for sharing yourself and making me feel more comfortable with doing the same. :)

  7. Bill

    Way kewl, Andie; take a bow. We are all looking forward to its release next April. I just know that your book launch will be a smashing success! I mean, you’ve got all of us doing the pre-marketing already.

  8. Liz

    I am so excited to read your book, once you’re done editing! I love your writing style in your blog posts, so I imagine a book will be 100x’s better!

  9. Mica

    Congratulations, Andie! This is such a huge accomplishment, and it is really admirable that you are embracing every step of the process. I love that you have developed a very distinct voice through your blog, and I am excited to see how that translates to a different format–your book! Hooray!

  10. johnny

    Haven’t commented in a while but I read you every day! We are all so very fortunate to have you. You have always put yourself out there for us to experience and that has been a special gift! Your recipes, experiences, travels, fun times and bad have been something to look forward to. It’s like reading a series hoping beyond hope that it will never end. You are the comfortable blanket and book we curl up to when it’s time to relax and enjoy the evening. You are the wonderful aroma of that first cup of coffee that starts the day! You girl are very special, and if we have to wait for the editing time to complete than I’m sure it will be very,very worth it. We LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!!! :)

  11. kace

    I have been toying around with the idea of writing a book. I think the whole reason I started blogging was to “be discovered”; I thought someone would read my story (esp. the medical stuff) and give me an offer – kind of like what happend to you. But then I realize maybe I need to start making things happen…i don’t know. I’m rambling. Regardless, thanks for posting so much about the process. If I ever decide to grow a set and write the damn book, I feel your advice here will be invaluable. Any other tips for me, or other writers, and appreciated!!!

  12. Susan

    How exciting! I can’t wait to get to read it. And Belikin beer!! I remember that from our honeymoon cruise to Belize! Enjoy editing :)

  13. Tami

    You’ve got this Andie! You have an amazing way with words and a profound openness, it’s inspiring.

    I can’t wait til your book is published.

  14. Jojo

    Congrats! I honestly can’t wait to read your book :) I love your writing on this blog; sooo looking forward to reading a whole book of “your crazy” ;)

  15. Tamara

    Your writing IS lovely. I’m a long-time fiction writer (who can’t seem to complete a novel… only have 10 in progres!) and relatively new blogger and I so admire your candor and style. Thanks for sharing all that you do!

  16. Tamara

    I’m also a copy editor by trade, and am rather embarrassed that I didn’t proofread my previous comment and it included a typo! Ah well, nobody’s perfect. :)

  17. Lisa

    You are such an inspiration to all of us. Congratulations on your book, it is going to be awesome! I just ordered Feeding the Hungry Heart, and I can’t wait for it to come. I have lost almost 80lbs.so far and I have over 200lbs to go. I am trying to do this without having surgery.I want to fix the outside and the inside of me so when all this weight is gone I can find the real new me.Please don’t ever get discouraged in your rewriting, you are such a role model and inspiration toso many of us.

  18. Ally

    I absolutely can’t wait! I am sure you cannot begin to fathom the impact this blog has had. This book will not be an exception. From me to you, know that the vulnerability you have displayed has helped me to tackle finally losing the weight that has held me back for so many years as well as helped me to encourage others who have struggled with weight as well. Hope editing goes well! God bless!

  19. Divya

    Agh! So eager to read it.
    Having struggled with my weight (and still not fully at my goal), I am amazed at the people who are so open and willing to share their experiences.
    I feel like I just want to hide the embarrassing, shameful things I’ve done in the past – but you inspire me to want to share.

    Thank you for writing and can’t wait til it’s done!!!

  20. Holly

    Andie, this happens to be my favorite type of blog from you. Your recipes always look delicious, your trips always make me a little envious, but when you write about you, and what that you looks like from the inside out, I am truly hooked and always inspired. Good luck with this publication, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! What a God-given talent, this. Writing, yes, but inspiring, more. Love it girl, keep it coming!

  21. Teddi

    I haven’t been more excited to read a book since I was in middle school and the 3rd Harry Potter was coming out soon. :)

  22. Gina

    I am so looking forward to reading your book! I hope you make a stop in Seattle for your book tour, I’d love to take a Green Lake walk and catch up:)

  23. Liz

    Andie, I am truly so excited for the day I can read through a copy of this book. Your blog has both inspired me and encouraged me in ways many of my closest friends and family couldn’t have. Thank you for being so vulnerable and congrats on this writing adventure.

  24. Jane

    Dear Andie,

    I knew it was only a matter of time until a publisher sought you out to write a book. I knew it the first time I ever visited your blog. I am thrilled for you. Your personal story–as you tell it–is inspirational, funny, smart, beautiful, honest. Everything about you, as we know you here, comes across as hopeful and life affirming.

    What are you going to call your book? Will it have the same title as your blog? Is there any tentative release date yet?

    You have so much to be proud of, Andie!


  25. Tara Walker


    It really is NOT my practice to comment on blogs of people I don’t know. However, this is the 3rd time I’ve commented on your blog! :-) HA! I think there are two reasons – I can completely relate to so much that you say! And the other reason is because your writing style is so engaging and enjoyable to read. Both of these reasons make me feel like I kinda know you (must be why I feel compelled to comment so many times on your blog! :-D) I can’t wait to read your book! I am sure you’ll do a great job with the edit!

  26. Ms. O

    when it’s done and launched, please please please send to Indonesia. I’d love to read your writing in paper (hundreds of them?). I sure will wire you cost

  27. Kate L

    I find myself coming back to your blog not only for recipes but also to reread your initial posts about your journey every few weeks. Your story hits so close to home because your writing expresses emotions that so many of us feel but have never been able to communicate in such a beautiful and thorough way. I’m excited for your book and I’m sure it will be wonderfully written and enjoyable to read.

  28. Cindy Conner

    You probably posted numerous times but I’m not seeing a release date for your book??
    So sorry if this is a question you have answered a gadillion times!

  29. hungryandfrozen

    Congratulations on submitting the draft. I’m currently in the very first days of writing a book and it’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying – it’s nice to read your perspective from this side of things! All the best.

  30. A Friendly Face

    Hi. Congrats on your book and getting close to being done! I am writing a book, myself, and I know how much work goes into it (and how naked I have felt writing it!)… and the number of edits,… and edits… and more editing… I have had to do, and am still doing. Good luck with your book. I am sure you will do great with it and touch people. Blessings. :)


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