A lot of people have asked us what kind of process we used to write a book with three co-authors. We tell them that it’s just like sailing a yacht with three different characters like us—and we’re all quite different, as we described in an earlier post about The Professionals—so it all comes down to teamwork.
We know each other well enough to understand our individual strengths, so we just fell into a regular routine. As in offshore sailing where a well-drawn crew has complementary skills, like weather forecasting or navigation or cooking, we easily found our roles in writing Beer in the Bilges. We all contributed to the telling of the stories in the memoir, but we each had our specialties.
Bob is the best story-teller among us and reminded us when it was time for a break. Peter had the best recollection of the people and places as well as a keen eye for detail. And Alan had the imagination to craft the vignettes we have presented in the book and the skills to type the manuscript.
We got together every twelve to eighteen months, approaching this project like a job and working about eight hours a day, allowing adequate time afterward for mental stimulation and recreation!
Alan worked at the keyboard while we chatted together about a chapter, then we all reviewed the raw product and offered our suggestions. We edited the draft until we were happy with the final product and then moved on to the next one. We made tremendous progress on each trip.
To help us in writing these memoirs we went back to Marina del Rey in California, to Hawaii, Fiji, and Samoa, to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and to Australia and New Zealand. It helped enormously to go back to the “scene of the crime” to sail the waters, talk with people and generally soak in the atmosphere of these places again. Besides the clarity and focus that those trips provided, they were all part of another adventure. And after all, that is what life is all about.