George Gershwin’s classic lyrics, “I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got music … who could ask for anything more?” is the perfect element to begin your authoring quest with. Your book has to have rhythm to be successful. You have to have rhythm to bring it all together. Rhythm connects you to your passion, your heart and your vision. Everything has rhythm to it—the way you live, talk, walk, work, love, eat and play. Michael Jordan is someone who played for a living. As one of basketball’s kings, he reflected on his career at his retirement:
So when you look at all those twists and turns (in life), all the little things that happened and turned out to be major events, I have to believe there was an original rhythm to my life, a spiritual road that I was traveling without ever knowing where it would lead.
In the audiobook, The Tango of Authoring and Publishing, Katherine Carol and I wrote/said:
One of the biggest mistakes authors consistently make is their drive to rush to publish. Rushing without knowing what their flow is really about … they just know they have a book in them. Slow down. Breathe a bit. Listen to your rhythm—does it resemble the Flight of the Bumble Bee, A Hard Day’s Night, or something along the lines of I’ve Got Rhythm, Bolero, I Left My Heart in San Francisco or Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World?
Is it memorable? Does it have legs? Rhythm has flow—everything is connected … you can feel it, you can hear it, and you experience it. Beginner dancers think a lot; when you know the steps, your dance, you instinctively move into and with it. The Art of Authoring and Publishing is no different.
Rhythm has spontaneity to it, usually mixed with a creative flow. For books, rhythm has a synching that occurs between the author and reader. The author starts the lead, the reader follows, trusting the author to take him on a journey that offers pleasure, entertainment or a life-enhancing venture.
Sometimes authors lose their rhythm. John Grisham connected with the reader in his early books. A Time to Kill, The Firm and The Pelican Brief drew the reader in quickly, opening the door to things unimaginable or unbelievable … the reader was grabbed. He had rhythm with the flow of his form of story-telling. Grisham fell into a routine with his ongoing books around the law. A dozen plus books later, he hit a rut. Today, his books have become almost boring. The formulas are dull and display writer laziness. When I purchased The Associate, I asked for her money back. To this day, I believe that someone else wrote it; he did it with a clock running; or he had a stated number of words that had to be delivered.
Rhythm is what we are about as authors. And it’s the awareness of it that will propel you toward your author success. Understanding how to tap into it and how to use it will bring you squarely in front of the author’s mirror: what your book is all about. It is your rhythm—its look, feel and content—it’s the song you hear.
Are you writing or is your book, the song you intended?