After a lifetime’s worth of writing, I can file these baby steps under the “wish I’d known when I started” category. They’re vital. If you follow them, not only will you be successful at writing at some time in the future, you’ll be successful right now.
How, given our hectic everyday lives and family responsibilities, do we find the energy, space, and time it takes to bring a creative work into being?
As a full-time writer who’s also a work-at-home mom, I’ve grappled with this question for years. And I’ve found some answers I’d like share:
We often jump into a new writing project without much thought. Driven by passion and fueled by the excitement surrounding the creative process, we dive in. Sometimes, this is a terrific strategy. Pour out what’s in your heart; try to make sense of it later. Other times, you simply waste your time by not answering a few preliminary questions. If you’re serious about a book project, it will serve you to clarify your intention with the following.
It’s nearing the end of summer, and I have no credentials to my benefit these holidays. As the end of the holidays approach, I keep wondering what I have to show for the summer other than the noticeable tan, and the load of incomplete articles adorning my computer.
Being a great writer is no longer enough if you plan to score a big publishing deal, especially as a nonfiction author.
Particularly if your book idea falls into the “how-to” or “self-help” categories, you not only have to sell your terrific writing, but you also have to sell yourself as the book’s conduit to the world.
When we first decide to write, we feel good about itwe have memories and stories that form who we are. We want to explore ourselves, to capture times long gone and preserve them in story form. To leave a legacy about our lives. But other voices compete with our writingwhat will people think; you should be ashamed; you will embarrass the family. Dont air dirty laundry; you know only part of the truth, so be quiet. Your mother will roll over in her grave if she found out you wrote that.
Most books aren’t rejected because the stories are “bad.” They’re rejected because they’re not “ready to read.” In short, minor stuff like typos, grammar, spelling, etc.
I don’t mean places where we, as authors, deliberately break the rules. Those are fine. They’re our job. Language always changes with use, and we can help it on its way. No, I’m referring to places where someone just plain didn’t learn the rule or got confused or overlooked it during the self-edits.
It’s Saturday afternoon. Your partner has taken the kids to the park. You have a whole hour to write. Instead of which, you sit, staring out the window like Rodin’s Thinker in jeans and a yellow sweatshirt. Why aren’t you writing? A tiny item called Perfection Syndrome. You want whatever you write in this precious hour to be perfect.