On the Art of Writing

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In this case, the money part is easy: You need exactly zero dollars. Writing a book is completely free, at least in terms of financial cost. Therefore, your main deliverables are chapters and words. You need to break these deliverables down and create an advantage that allows you to tackle them in small, recurring steps.

A good target to shoot for is twelve chapters and 60, words—approximately 5, words per chapter. This is because writing a book is different from journal writing or blog post writing. Instead of just keeping your head down and pressing on, you need to constantly consider the overall arc and structure. But many writers find it much easier to write a detailed outline first, then sketch out as many notes as possible for each chapter. When you get stuck, move on to another chapter. This helps you to get closer to your word count goal, which is the primary target in the beginning.

The Art of Writing is in the Rewriting | Writer's Digest

You can sometimes reposition the extra content for something else, like an online resources area or the beginnings of another book. Other times, outtakes are outtakes for a good reason. Let them go.


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Every day, keep working toward your quota. Worry about this quota more than worrying about brilliance. What should be discarded? What can be reworked? The editing process will likely take as long as the actual writing, because you can no longer ignore the parts where you get stuck and ignored the problems.


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  • Now you need to solve the problems, provide more examples, clean things up, and turn your mass of words and draft chapters into an actual book. This process is usually either very tough or very fun. Worry about telling your story and racking up the words.

    Last month we debuted the Unconventional Guide to Publishing , which helps writers learn more about the publication process. If you want to write a novel, you can also follow along with thousands of other people during national writing month. But no need to wait for other people. Apparently books can be written at any time of year! If you want to write a non-fiction book, well, follow the advice above. Think of everything you know about something, then write it down. Spend at least three months on the first draft, then spend at least three months on the editing and curation process.

    Half a year later… you have a book. Tags: words , books , habits , publishing , writing. How ironic and sweetly amusing!

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    I tried NaNoWriMo, writing groups, coaches, etc, etc, and discovered that ultimately the only way to write a book is, first, to learn the craft of writing. Read books, study other authors, attend classes, go to conferences, etc. Be like a sponge and absorb everything you can. Second, shut out all distractions in whatever myriad forms they attempt to seduce you , plant your backside in the seat every day, write like a devoted maniac, and channel your inner sculptor to most effectively shape the story that emerges from your head, heart, and hands.

    If we knew how much work it actually takes to craft a book, the Club would include only 0. After reading this post, I definitely want to go after writing my book. I am going to start drafting my ideas today. Thanks for the kick in the pants! Ideas come quickly, the work involved in writing a whole book takes much longer, alot of dedication, and dare I say it here? I just swallow hard. Now this weekend I hibernate as I go for the rewrite. I will be working on a book in the future, right now I am trying to focus on a new photography business and on an idea for a non-profit.

    I need to keep the above saying in mind as I move forward. My idea is to do it as a series of blog posts then use them as the basis for fuller chapters. I am writing a technical book iPhone application design and for me the challenge is to find a good hook or angle to make it interesting. Rather than reading like a boring how-to manual I want it to have something more.


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    I prefer to skip around rather than just go from A to Z. Others may have research to do, interviews, even travel. Funny thing, I have written a book and started a blog but now what? The process is very much as you have described and I think the end result is pretty good, but I am having a hard time generating momentum. I have a potential publisher that has kept me hanging for several months. They have encouraged me to talk to other publishers also but since my subject matter is technical in nature I am limited in my options. Self publishing seems very expensive so far if you include paying someone to ensure that the formatting and layout is correct.

    I have also gotten an indication that some publishers such as PublishAmerica might actually make it impossible for your book to actually get placed on a bookstore shelf. I find that after expending a lot of effort to generate the content I am kind of out of gas on finishing the race without some kind of confirmation from others.

    The last few hurdles to getting published seems like the hardest part. This is my year of writing my book. Maybe even books! I published a chapbook a couple of years ago but this is different. Thank you for the kick in the pants. Feeling jazzed. Thank you!

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    Thanks for the advice and confidence boost! Brain, why must you do this to me?! Great post Chris! Clean cut and to the point. I saved this page for future reference, as just knowing the total word count and word count per chapter are very helpful. Keep up the great work and thanks again! Great breakdown of the process, Chris.

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    It was exhausting, frustrating, and the best experience of my life. One month of dedicated and relentless work left me with a page manuscript and a huge sense of accomplishment. Editing has proved to be an entirely different beast, but the process is still exciting and fulfilling in its own unique way.

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    Obviously this is likely better for nonfiction books, although I could imagine that fiction writers might try it out, too. THEN, you transcribe it all or have it transcribed by someone else , and use that text as the basis for your book. Thanks for the motivation and encouragement! If you have an idea write about it. I appreciate you very much my friend.

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    The stress, the inefficiency, and having to save projects at the last moment took quite a toll on me. For awhile I tried to keep my normal weekly writing practice daily words, editing an ms. So, I found some self-compassion, scaled back to working on poetry and planning the series. I wrote my first book last year and my second book comes out March 2. You might even use some or part of your blog post.

    Another k to go, then Gotta edit and do photographs. Thumbs up for that idea.

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