This brief article is the first in a series which provide guidance for new authors. In addition, I hope it can also provide inspiration to experienced authors. With this first installment I will begin from the rejection pile, as it were: Things Not To Do.
My reasoning is simple, if we can help you eliminate some bad habits, maybe we can free your fingers so they can dance joyfully over the keyboard once again. Are you game?
Myth 1: Writing a book is like giving birth- one word at a time. Please let go, live free, and anticipate that this will be the first of several, if not many books. Do not agonize over each word. Let yourself experience the process of writing, revising, writing, and revising. Because after months of careful planning and work you must realize that at a certain point you have to kick that book out of the nest and let it fly.
Myth 2: Writing a book is ugly business. Enjoy the writing and when you get stuck, no longer are enjoying it, or are otherwise bogged down, change your scene, write a different section, go outside, or sing a song. You have hopefully elected this process of writing: enjoy it. It could be so much worse– imagine if you were digging trenches with your bare hands. This is easy in comparison! Change the pace to provide freshness and vigor to your writing. For instance alternate between difficult, easy, creative, and menial tasks so that no single one dominates your day.
Myth 3. Top Secret: Protect my work from the light of day. Quite the opposite, invite friends, family or colleagues to read your work and critique it. Discuss it with those who will talk to you about it and give you feedback. The more you discuss it, the more fully you will develop it and see any gaps or inconsistencies in your writing. Great writers know and use the power of proofreading and critique to their benefit.
Myth 4. I have to know the entire book before I start. From my experience, I know my content well, but I always leave open new ways for my books to develop and evolve as I work through them. I have a vision and detailed outline for each book, but I also weave in new insights, experiences, and current events. And if your books have characters in them, don’t restrict their behavior before they come alive on the pages- allow them room to grow through your work! Let that book outline and framework be flexible enough to improve as you breathe life into your book as th words spill from your fingertips, to the keyboard, onto the monitor.
Myth 5. Publishers are always correct. On the contrary, they are people! Read your contracts, be part of professional associations to know what the usual terms are and when you know your content is right, stand up for it. There are scores of cases where publishers turned down books as “trash” which later became best sellers.
Print off these points, tape them next to your monitor, and let them inspire you to keep on moving through and enjoy your writing project. Live your dreams of writing. Whether you are writing 30 minutes a day or 10 hours, I urge you to overcome the 5 myths described above and discover the freedom of your voice, write to your audience, and enjoy the experience.
Dr. Kathleen P. King (EdD)
Certified Coach, Author, Keynote Speaker, Professor of Education
Dr. King is a dynamic, interactive keynoter, and author who invigorates audiences on a variety of professional topics. From coping with changes in the workplace, to navigating organizational demands, developing leadership, meeting the needs of 21st century learners, and distance learning, she is always “Helping Professionals Reach Their Dreams.” Contact Kathy to discuss speaking engagements, coaching and consulting services.
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