With most of my text complete, I began to make a physical copy of my book to get a feel for the way it will read and flow when it is printed.
I wanted to use this time to experiment with layout, colour and fonts to see what worked well and which ideas could be discounted. At this stage, I still didn't have picture in my mind of how I wanted the book to look - I was finding it difficult to find the voice and character of my work.
The first mock-up served well as a tool to say what wasn't working. I had too much going on; too many different layouts and no fixed identity to the two parts of my story.
I began again on version two, this time working directly in InDesign. The pages I was producing were uninspiring and, while I was still at a loss to know what they should look like, I knew they weren't anywhere close to being right.
I decided to focus on the first poem, the one that sets the tone for the whole book, my thinking being, if I can get this one right, the rest will follow. I knew I wanted to have an image showing all of the parenting guides I had read and came upon the idea of displaying them on a shelf. This idea then developed into a series of images throughout the book to accompany the poems, creating something of a window into our home and our life. The bookshelf being one, Joe's bedroom another, photographs on the fridge another - all building on the intimate and personal nature of the poems, hopefully making their message more powerful.
That one image of the bookshelf gave my book it's character, and after that the rest of the pages came really quickly and easily.