23 Mar 2022

Adventuring towards being a published author

Almost nine months after conceiving the idea for Going AWOL – Inspiration and Insights from Adventurous Women On the Loose, my book is just about ready to be published. 

I had no idea what I was getting into. Although I have never given birth, producing this book feels like the closest thing to it. 

The story begins with the launch of AWOL (Adventurous Women On the Loose) to share my passion for being active outdoors in New Zealand’s adventure playground.

For more than a decade I organised over fifty different outdoor experiences. Every AWOL adventure was a different combination of activities, places, and people during different seasons. 

Going AWOL shares our ups and downs on all sorts of adventures - kayaking across a busy harbour or kayak sailing towards a spectacular coastline; hiking across rugged farmland, over an alpine crossing and through dense native bush; cycling along narrow water races or around switchbacks; snow shoeing over a frozen lake; fly fishing in sparkling gin-clear water … and so much more. 

These AWOL experiences happened during big life and work changes which fuelled my interest in midlife and all sorts of other transitions.   

A lightbulb moment occurred when two ideas converged. Being adventurous and stepping outside our comfort zone builds resilience muscles for dealing with whatever life and work throws us. The book traverses themes of inner and outer journeys, connecting with self, nature and others as well as living an authentic and adventurous life.

I began writing Going AWOL setting myself a goal of 400 words per day to complete my rough draft over four months. Sticking to a word count takes perseverance. Some days the words flowed, other days not so much.

Early on I had a book cover designed and posted on the wall as a visual reminder of my goal to become a published author. It worked.  

When the rough draft was done, I was tempted to take a break. My book coach, Scott, who I met monthly in Zoomland, advised against this. So, I kept going and completed the self-editing phase. 

It was time to bring in the professionals. Did I need a developmental editor or a copy editor and then a proof reader? I chose two rounds of professional editing with Catherine. My manuscript was beginning to take shape with a better flow through the narrative. 

When I handed it over to Rica for formatting, things didn’t quite go as planned. Becoming a self-published author is not for the faint-hearted. 

Eight months after it all began, I am looking forward to getting this ‘book baby’ over the finish line. 





Mary Somervell

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