Before I wrote my first book, I remember two distinct thoughts:
1 — “This will be like writing a long blog post”
2 — “I’ll be able to do this alone.”
I was wrong on both accounts.
Let’s start with item two:
Although the writing of your book will likely be a solitary process, the editing, formatting, publishing, and marketing (by far the larger portion of the “book writing” process) takes other people.
And other people, get this, think differently than you do.
FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL TELL YOU THE TRUTH.
Sorry I didn’t mean to put that in all caps. Well, I sort of did. I just don’t want you to miss the fact that if you are only ready for affirmation instead of useful criticism, it will be difficult to write a book bigger than you.
I made this mistake at first.
“What do you think of my novel?” I tentatively asked, puppy dog eyes glowing at my friends.
“It’s good! Really good!” they said.
Of course they did. What else would they say? I asked for nothing specific. Nobody wants to hurt a friend’s feelings.
As an artist, I’m often so attached to my “children” that I won’t see the ugly, obvious mole on their nose. This is a shame. Books with metaphorical moles don’t go very far.
My one published book was the result of many reviews (which bug me) the feedback of plenty of people (which I resisted), and the fine-toothed comb of a proofreader (which takes time and I am impatient).
All of these things made for a MUCH better read.
Now on to point one — “It’ll be like a long blog post.”
Books are a bit like blog posts, I guess, except for these key differences:
- Your blog post is 50,000 words long.
- You write the post one sentence at a time.
- You do this for a year.
When you write a blog post, the voice is consistent. Of course it is. You write it all at once. The words there are mostly driven by one emotion.
With the book, I had several different emotions, all coming from different places in my life. Then, somehow, I needed to consolidate all those emotions and places into a constant theme and tone.
Books aren’t about the words. They are about how the words feel. You will feel a lot of different things over the year it takes you to write a book, but the output must feel consistent.
This is no easy chore.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that you probably won’t overcome your biggest writing problems by reading how authors overcame theirs.
You will overcome them by writing.
I’m doing something a little different this week only at the bottom of my posts.
I’m asking you to buy my book.
The audio version of The Creative’s Curse was just released on Audible, and I didn’t want you to miss the chance to get either the Kindle copy and/or the audio version, which has an extra 20 minutes of improvised tangents that aren’t in the written copy.
If I have offered you any value over the last 2 years — through 396 articles on this platform, 135 answers on Quora, 91 videos on YouTube, or 74 posts on my home blog — do me a favor:
You won’t regret it :)
Much love as always,