Yesterday morning was shepherded in by streams of gulls. Regular pulses of birds in linear formations, making their dawn flights to daytime feeding grounds. On the drive to work, two Skylarks bounced up from a field boundary and over the car. I couldn’t hear their streams of bubbly notes, but I recognised their pot-bellies and triangular wings. On other morning commutes, I’ve observed many birds – Fieldfares roving, Linnets arcing, Cormorants darting and Pink-feet returning – all above the same familiar road. Not yesterday though, yesterday was a normal day.

Until early afternoon, when I received an email from the editor of Bird Therapy with the FINAL proof attached for my perusal and approval. A flood of emotions poured over me, from petrified excitement to gnawing doubt. I knew that all the final edits were done, so I had a flick (well – a scroll) through it and checked the illustrations were all ok; and yes, it really was finished!

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Four years of writing; of ink and emotions bleeding into notepad after notepad. The research and reading, so enlightening but time-devouring. The conversations and discussions, the friends, both lost and found. The frustration, the lows, the lack of confidence that I could get the message across in the right way. Not to mention the crowdfund, that was a different beast altogether!

I’d laid my heart on the page in the book, but I laid it on the line with the crowdfund. I’d been reluctant to even consider it to begin with, and throughout the funding phase, the pressure was immense. Mostly self-imposed, this pressure are away at me constantly and became an obsession. Checking, posting, deleting, rewording, pleading – it was horrible. I was very lucky, that lots of people (hundreds in-fact) believed in the book and in me. The process continued, behind the scenes as edit upon edit ensued, but the ballooning pressure deflated as the target was met.

Yesterday, seeing that final proof, was the culmination of all of that work, emotion and pressure – the release was incredible.

2 thoughts on “The proof is in the final proof

  1. So very excited about reading, consuming this book. I work with very troubled young children who for all sorts of reasons are displaying aggressive, troubling behaviours at school and at home. I hope to use this book as my blue-print to plan for these children to lose themselves in birding. Whether it be at Rainham Marshes, Minsmere or their own school grounds. I know it will help them, I just need to work out how. Thanks in advance, Joe.

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    1. Hi Jonathan. I’m starting to make a little teaching resource. It’s nothing special, as I have no money to make it all ‘jazzy’, but at the very least, I can make a good presentation, with some videos, book extracts, a little project and some worksheets/lesson plans to go alongside. I looked into accreditation but it’s so expensive for just me to do.

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