What's on your bucket list?
Is writing a book on your bucket list it was mine? A few years ago, I studied how to write a book. I researched the ins and outs of how it was done. I was fascinated with the idea of writing a book because I love to read. I envisioned writing a thriller with twists and turns like J.K Rollins or an epic tale like Gone With The Wind. The idea of being immersed in a story that you create is exciting.
But it hasn’t happened – yet.
A few things stood in my way; one was grammar rules. Many of my copywriting peers are wizards when it comes to grammar rules. They are English nerds, in a good way. I refer to them when I get stuck and need direction.
The good news, I found out that everyone can become a writer; it doesn’t require a journalism degree to succeed. All it takes is your imagination and the right editing tools. I’m sure that some are wincing when I make such a bold statement, but it’s the truth.
Everyone can be a writer. There’s so much room for writers of all shapes and sizes, for blogging, journalism, sales copy, social media, case studies, white papers, scripts, screenwriting, instruction manuals, descriptions, and the list goes on. If you can think about it, then you’ll find someone who needs help.
I started writing all sorts of business projects, like newsletters, emails, websites, descriptions, and taglines. I would take everything that came my way, believing that I would learn which projects I like the best.
And I did. I learned that writing seemingly endless descriptions are not my cup of tea. I love a project that follows the customer journey from problem aware and solution unaware to problem and solution aware. You see, we humans are hunting for an answer when we have a problem.
So back to my idea of writing a book. Equipped with all the tools I needed to write my book, I began my journey. Assured that I could hand my book over to an editor to clean up all my messes, all I needed to do was get on with my writing.
I gave up on the idea of writing the next great fiction novel for the non-fiction story of a mom who enters the world of the disabled. She is transported into a world with no rules, much like a secret society where people have their own special handshake. They accept things that others find annoying and abnormal. She balances life between the typical world and her new world of the disabled. It’s somewhat like learning to speak multiple languages, I suppose.
Now you compile your thoughts into buckets. You start outlining your bucket ideas. Moving your ideas around into a logical order is how your book starts to take shape. This is a loose start to organizing your information. Once you have your outline started, it’s time to start filling in the blanks.
The best tip I got about writing is to write without stopping to edit. It’s so tempting to edit as you write. It seems like the right way to go, but it isn’t. I’ve heard some people will write with a blank screen. They turn off their monitor, so they can’t see what they’re typing. Since most of us know how to type, we don’t really need to see what we’re doing. At least that’s what they say, and I still like to see what I’m doing.
After you’re satisfied that you’ve included everything that needs to be a part of your book, the nightmare of editing begins. This is a black hole. I started reading and editing, rinse, and repeat. The process started, but it didn’t seem to have an end in sight. I don’t even know how many times I edited the first three chapters. Oh, the agony of getting up to read the same thing over and over again. The nightmare of Groundhog Day, when would it end?
Until I realized I just needed to move on. I had to move on to the next chapters to get the book over to the real editor. Just so you know, the editing process is when you open up another Word document and cut and paste all the scraps you want to remove out of your document just in case you want to use it somewhere else. As you tweak your document cutting, writing, pasting, thinking, and reviewing, you finally come to an end. You’re just so tired of looking at it that you give in and call it done for now.
Some people will get beta readers to take part in helping you shape your book. And it is a good idea. Of course, yours truly didn’t travel down that road. Well, I gave it to my husband to read since he was mentioned in the book. I mean, it was only fair that he have a chance to weigh in on the story.
The Next Steps
The next steps were to send the book off to the editor and find my book cover. I knew I would self-publish, so I found a reputable company to help with the final mile. The fantastic thing is the guy who taught me about book publishing would start a new book at this point. Yep, before getting this baby on Amazon, he would start his next book.
Well, that wasn’t my next move. I didn’t start my next book. I’m now committed to my blog. So far, I’ve written more words in the last 30 days than I did in my only book. And that took me six months. I started my book in January and published it on Amazon in September. I’m happy to have written my first book, and maybe there’s another in my future. Not sure if I can do the super fiction novel or not.
Who knows what’s in the future?
In summary: If you’re thinking about writing a book, start looking at the possible topics you’d like to spend, oh, six or more months living with. You’ll be immersed in that book, so it better be something you like. Of course, there are tools to determine if your book stands any chance of success based on the topic you’ve chosen. If you don’t care, which I didn’t, just jump in and get started. Mine was a passion project, and I was going to write it no matter what. My book's title is 21 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place, Becoming a Seriously Happy Special Needs Mom.
If you'd like to chat about your next project, reach out at Linda@shinyobjectmarketing.com
Linda James Bennett; day 30 of 365 writing an article every day, making you a shiny object in the world.