Moving from Wannabe Author to the Real Thing It never fails … at every conference I speaksat, multiple attendees will say, “I can’t believe you’ve written all these books … I wish I could write a book.” And she always responds, “Why not … you can.”
Is there a book in you? Most people think there is. And most don’t get them out. You could have the makings of a fantastic novel, a creative young adult series, and exquisitely illustrated young children’s stories. Sci-fi could be your genre, a cookbook, romance, intrigue, how-to or business book may be lurking in your creative closet.
You just may be able to take your career to a whole new level with the creation of a book. Adding to your professional credentials, if done right, could position you as the expert in a specific field. A book could talk you to a whole new level, a different type of professional business card.
Many wannabe authors practice the art of one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, three to get ready, three to get ready … and they never go. They keep reaching for one more thing; one more piece of information; another interview; another who knows what. Sometimes, it’s just another excuse. Their book never gets written, much less published. Their quest for the perfect book has become the enemy of creating a good book, even a great book.
The First Step Choose a spot … any spot that is yours and yours alone. Authors need their space and time. Space will contain all the ingredients you need to support you. Think computer, phone— if necessary, pens, pencils, paper, files with reference items that you’ve collected, notes you’ve saved or made to support your topic, other reference books, a favorite snack (I confess—I’ve written an entire book with M&Ms being the reward each time I finished a chapter), beverage of choice, toys, etc. Your space. Claim it and let others know that when you are in your space, it’s a “Do Not Disturb” sanctuary.
Find time. Some authors have to work specific hours; others are more loosey-goosey. I’m a binge writer—if someone told me that I had to write/work from the hours of 8 to noon every day—my response would be, “Fat chance.” I’m one of those intensives—when I start, it’s like a train … keep going until it gets to the next station—rarely do I start a chapter without finishing it in a first draft format—bathroom breaks are allowed and fresh tea, but that’s just about it.
The Second Step Just do it … even if what you get down looks like gibberish. It’s a start. You can’t move forward to publication until you’ve got some words. So dump them out. The more you organize them, the better it is when it comes to the first dump. The general topic, sub-topics, stories/facts/stats to support the topic all go into magic piles.
Where you choose to “dump” is your choice. Some still write all by hand … if you having been procrastinating or dragging your feet—best to bypass this method and either pick up a speaking program like Dragon’s Naturally Speaking where you can literally put on a headset with a mic and start talking. Your works get transcribed to your computer, and then you clean up spellings and missed words after your dictation is done. Easy, very easy. Or, if you can pound it out on the computer, each document is a major theme/chapter and you start pulling it together in bits and chunks. It won’t be perfect … it’s a START.
The Third Step Get help … this is where a book shepherd or book coach can come into play. You will need an editor. All authors need editors who edit (this is not your friend or sister, although they can be readers) … all authors no exceptions. Do you have a book in you? Most likely, yes. Could a book help your professional career? No question. Don’t do it cheaply–what does that say about you and the quality of your work?
Changes are everywhere. Get professional help–meaning interior designers, REAL cover designers, book sheperding, editing. Your book can do amazing things … you need to bring the amazing you to the party and invite the pros in for the journey.