The Nomad is a series of stories, fascinations, encounters, observations, experiences, joy of the moments by me, Ulrike Reinhard – all around my travels. Stay tuned!
Ulrike Reinhard is The Nomad 🙂
I’ve edited and published quite some books over the last 30 years and I’ve written articles for these books, but Skater Girl Asha is the first one for which I typed every single character on my own. It was quite a process – let me tell you this.
Before I dig deeper into my writing process, I want to thank two people. There were many who made the book possible – thanks to all of them – but two stood really out: Doris Eichmeier and Bea Gschwend. I know Doris for roughly 30 years – we’ve worked together on “who is who in multimedia / bavaria” when I had my own little publishing house and we stayed in touch ever since. Doris is a content strategist; for me she is someone who thinks very straight forward and says and writes exactly what she means. In easy and clear words. Every sentence is a statement in itself – without loosing the perspective of the whole. She edited tireless all the chapters, word by word, and always reminded me by asking the most simple questions where to put in more details and where to delete where there was too much of Ulrike 🙂 Without her input, the outcome would have been different and not up to the level where I feel it is now. Doris made the book better and me more aware. And Bea has made the book LOOK GOOD – once again! We’ve worked together on so many books, magazines, newsletter, logos, websites … and with Skater Girl Asha Bea has once again proven that “timeless” fonts and layout have so much to offer to support the content and the story of a book. I don’t know how often she “touched” every character in this book, how many sentences, lines, spaces she deleted while adding others because of my endless editing efforts – her patience was just incredible. For me it makes a huge difference if I see my text in the final layout or in a word document. Bea fully supported me and didn’t shy away from multiple rounds of editing!
THANK YOU TO BOTH OF YOU!
You can order the book here.
There is this idea of writing a book ….
… that was the time when ideas, headlines, thoughts were bursting in my head and when the paper was still empty and I was desperate to fill it. But I didn’t know where to start, where to end and what to put in and what to leave out. I spoke with my peers in my network and discussed various options. This was at times very confusing and frustrating. It took me almost nine months to figure out the structure, the storyline, the skeleton of the book so to speak. Once I had it, writing became easy – from that moment forward, my purpose was clear, and with each successive chapter, the narrative evolved into a more cohesive and fulfilling story.
My writing time …
… was very fulfilling. I was writing up to 8-10 hours per day, starting in the early mornings around 4.30 am. I didn’t get tired. It was like my head and body were pumped up with great energy. I was in the flow. And I was certainly at the right spot. The Nomad, me 🙂 , had settled down for four months at Synergia Ranch close to Santa Fe in New Mexico – where I had the freedom to let it flow. It was the perfect environment.
I practiced a short meditation (5 minutes) before every writing session during which I repeated for myself what I was up to and what I wanted to achieve with the book.
My writing procedures varied …
… sometimes my first draft was handwritten – 20 pages or more – and when I typed it into the computer that was the first round of “editing”. It happened that the first draft was quite different from the final version – not regarding the key message, but the way I presented it and the stories I added. Sometimes there was too much of “ME” in there, and too little of Asha. At times there were too many details at the wrong and missing at the right place. And sometimes I was so much drawn into my writing and into “my” view that I forgot that not everyone who will read the book, has NOT my detailed knowledge. So I constantly had to remind myself, what do I need to explain to the reader, and what can I take for granted.
Sometimes I made notes before writing the chapter of what I was planning to include. And what was the most important thing – yet my preferred way was to go with the flow and see where it will take me and only later I would go over it and align it closer to the purpose of the book.
Before I sent a chapter to Doris, I certainly slept over it and gave it a last trim the next morning.
Doubts are part of the process …
… I was doubtful at times: Does that bore the reader? Is this relevant? Is this too much detail? How will Asha react? Many doubts came up during the process – I believe this is a very “normal” thing. At the end, it helped me to stay focused and I questioned myself over and over again: Am I on the right track? As long I was able to answer this question with yes, I kept whatever I had written. At least for this moment. I would not let the doubts stop my writing.
Doris was also a´my “doubt-filter” – whenever she gave it a go, I kept it. I never mentioned it explicitly to her, I trusted she would “find” and say when there was something irritating … and there was also Asha whom I could ask.
I am writing from my perspective …
… of course, that’s the only way I can do. I can only describe what I saw, felt and experienced. However, Asha’s voice was equally important – at the end of the day the purpose of the book is to show Asha’s journey from a shy “untouchable” girl to a young proud woman who had found her voice.
I witnessed Asha’s development from close by when I was in India. And this can also make you blind occasionally, I really have to say. So, me being away from India for more than 3.5 years, helped me to see many things clearer and understand them better. For example Asha’s traumatic experiences in her early years, her capacity and willingness to work on herself, her loneliness and her problems with interacting with people and asking for help.
Every time I started to work on a new chapter, I sent questions to Asha. Trying to get her perspective on the topic, to listen to her stories – this an uphill task. Asha responded only slowly and in very short sentences, not much detail, no stories. So I had to rephrase my questions, become more specific so that she would dig deeper into herself and become aware that everything she had to say, all she had ever felt, seen, heard was RELEVANT. HER voice was THE voice I wanted to hear.
It wasn’t that Asha did not want to make the book. No, she was and still is interested in it, she is just NOT used, that her voice, what she has to say is interesting for others to read …. and therefore every detail, every litlle story mattered. It was also a self-reflection on her own journey, what she lived through, what she had accomplished and with what she is still struggling. I am sure it wasn’t always easy for her – however, she stayed with me till the end of the book.
Does this word or phrase add value to the story …
… if not, DELETE! This was a painful process, but it clearly helped and made the book much clearer and more focussed. I was trying to ask myself this question during the writing process but obviously I didn’t always succeeed. So at the end – it was during the last few editing phases – I cut the entire book 30 pages down! It became clearer and more focused on what I wanted to achieve.
Besides creating the momentum for this book to sell, I am preparing for the next two books – so that at the end I’ve a triology to offer. This first book – Skater Girl Asha – is Asha’s journey of becoming a voice. The second book is about my ideas on how to drive change – no matter if it is change in a village or change in an organisation – it’s working title is: Janwaar – A handbook for Change. And the third one is about Anil, a close friend of Asha. And with Anil I will focus on the Learning Revolution which is taking place in Janwaar and in which he plays a significant role. It is rethinking the way we look at education and it is about INCLUDING as many children as possible in the process. The working title of this book is: Anil Kumar – The Last Mile.