Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Writing a book--and the stamina it takes

You may already know this--but writing a book takes a lot of stamina.

Because unlike writing a story, poem, essay, or article, completing a book-length manuscript is like a long-term relationship. You and your book will share head and heart space for months, even years.

What books demand
Ever hear of "platform"? It's what today’s competitive publishing arena demands from book writers in any genre, especially new authors. Books are needing more upfront time--getting to know the book concept, planning and exploring that concept long before the first draft.

Too bad! But it's the reality of publishing now.

Few good books are written by someone just sitting down at the computer and letting it rip. (Unless they have already written ten books and know how to do it.)

What I love most--and why I have taught book-writing for so many years

My favorite experience, often a year or two after they took the class, is when one of my former students appears with a copy of their published book in hand. “Here,” the writer says, handing the book to me with an intensely satisfied look on their face. “Because of your class, I finally finished this. And it was just published.”

This can be your dream come true, too. But I've learned not everyone can do it. It takes work, belief, stamina to realize any dream, and especially it's true if you're trying to manifest a book.

Here's what to ask yourself, a kind of self-test to see if you have the stamina to write (and publish) a book:

1. Are you willing to spend actual time--regular time--on your
writing?
2. Do you feel passionate about your topic?
3. Are you willing to explore, not know, "dwell in the unformed"
as a writing friend calls it?
4. How are you about receiving feedback? After the initial
ohmygod, do you rally and renew your vision?
5. How are you at negotiating with friends, family, job--and
yourself--for the privacy and dream time you need to write a
book?
6. Do you have support for your journey?

I hope this blog will provide a good map on your journey through the foreign territory of planning, writing, and developing your book. I hope the tips, tools, encouragement, and practical advice will give you the momentum and confidence you must have to finish your journey.

In the meantime, check out the exercise on the side of this page. Let me know how you like it.