1 Year Later – Turns Out Writing A Book Is Hard

100 Day Book Challenge

Sept 10th, 2016

Felt like my first day of school introducing myself to folks in the program for why and what I’m hoping to write.

And I have homework. Like actual homework with deadlines to be accomplished each week. You get $100 back if you complete the course in 100 days (if you don’t miss 3 deadlines).

Also, you have to create your own consequences missing a deadline. Here are mine…

  1. Cut off my pinky toe. It’s not really that important anyways. Kidding. Um…I don’t know. Not drink alcohol for a week (I like beer).
  2. Give my wife $50 of my flex spending for the month. I don’t want to do this.
  3. Sign-up for a 2ndround of “100 Days.” Put more skin in the game. No thanks.

My Interview W/ A 3rd Grade Classroom

Nov. 12, 2016

Two weeks ago I felt more like a writer than ever before.

A friend of mine asked if I’d be willing to FaceTime into her 3rd grade classroom to answer some questions about writing.

“Hey! My kids in class are writing paragraphs on the obstacles that children face to access books and learning around the world. They are expected to revise and edit their work multiple times and are really reluctant to keep going back and changing things.

I was wondering if we could FaceTime you some day soon and you could just talk a few minutes about the importance of The First Draft, is just getting all the ideas out… then speak on how many times you reread and change things to make them better? It can just be a couple minutes of encouraging words from a real author and writer to say writing isn’t a short process!

Whatdya say?!”

I was nervous.

Self Doubt Creeping In

I’m not an author. Authors have things that have been published. I haven’t had something published really. I mean, I’ve written near 300 blogs posts in 5 years. Does that count. Ok, well maybe there were a couple times my friends with other blogs let me post on theirs.

Would you believe the mental gymnastics my mind was doing? It’s amazing that even in places I find most joy, how I can disqualify myself before I even have the chance to say yes.

So I said yes. And it was a real joy to hear these kiddos questions.

  1. Why do you like to write? Do you write narrative non-fiction, fiction, opinion pieces, or non-fiction.
  2. How many times do you re-read you writing? Can you tell us a little bit what that looks like? Do you read the stuff you write out loud?
  3. Do you ever make silly mistakes, have to fix spelling or your word choice, or your writing doesn’t make sense?
  4. How do you use perseverance in your writing process?

…and the questions just kept coming

Hands shooting up across the room. The interesting part for me was, these kids ask pretty much the same questions we as writers ask ourselves.

I’m really am enjoying the writing process. It’s not without challenge though. Most days feels like joy and accomplishment. Other days feel like pulling teeth. And I’m realizing the hard work is just about to start. I’m 71% into a first draft manuscript, having to come up with material at this point I haven’t written before. Stories from The Race or life I’ve never told in a public format.

That feels…um…vulnerable.

And like I can’t cheat off the homework I’ve done before. Sometimes what I write feels like crap. Other times it feels like gold. Most likely though, my crap is closer to gold, and my gold closer to crap. It evens out.

Writing is not unlike looking over a ledge wondering if you have what it takes, what’s on the other side of the ledge, or what happens if I fall.

I’m learning from my buddy Joe Bunting to, “write through the mess. Write through poor grammar and awkward tense changes and switches in point of view. Keep writing even when you know what you’re writing is worthless. It’s not about good or bad right now. That comes later. Just keep writing.”

So that’s my goal and where I’m at in the process. To keep writing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be interviewed by more kids in the years to come. I wouldn’t mind doing that kind of interview again.

I Did It

Dec. 12, 2016

I did it?

I did it!!!

Wooooaaaa.

I wrote a book in 100 days! Pretty cool if I do say so myself.

Now what? Feels a little anticlimactic.

But I’m sure there was loads of fluff and random words thrown into that first draft to hit my goal. Meaning many more edits to come. But that’s part of the process right? Just getting something out there.

So my next steps….

  1. Wait. Yep….just wait. I submitted the first draft for edit to my buddy Joe of The Write Practice. He’ll know what to do next. So I’m taking a break from this book for 3-6 weeks til he sends me the first round of edits.
  2. Next, make changes from those edits
  3. Send it off again to another editor to critique
  4. Make those changes
  5. Have dad read and correct any last grammatical or structural edits
  6. Make those changes
  7. Stop making edits and be ok with it not being perfect
  8. Work on book cover with Evan Huwa
  9. Send off to publishing companies
  10. Get published

I’m sure I’m missing like 17 steps here, but I’ll figure it out as I go. My overall goal isn’t to just complete a manuscript, but to publish a book. I hope to reach that goal by June of 2017.

Build a platform

March 14th, 2017

“A what?”

“A platform.”

“What does that mean?”

My buddy Joe from The Write Practice read my book. Under full disclosure, and the practice of being vulnerable, here’s what he had to say. Or a paraphrase rather.

Salley, I think the book could be really great. I’m a believer in your voice. It’s clear, compelling, unique, and your life experience is really great. And if you decide to make writing more of a paid gig, and desire to do anything with this book, I suggest you hold off on paying someone to edit it, and work on building your platform first. And….this book would need to be rebuilt from the ground up, but your voice & life experience could make it work.

So your saying…

Wait. So you’re saying I have some skills around writing. The book was good, or readable rather. But my next step isn’t to get it polished up for editing. And instead, I should spent the next six months creating or building a platform that could create momentum around the kind of stories I’m seeking to tell? And there is potential of my writing being something more.

I then asked my old boss, and giver-of-good-advice, slash best-seller Jeff Goins, what he thought. Jeff is a man of few words via text/email. His thoughts, “I agree with Joe. And send me your book.”

Basically, I’ll take a look at it too and see if its not total crap, but if you’re wanting to actually make a career of telling stories that matter, building a platform that has momentum and followers would be the key to start.

Movement

So that’s what I’m gonna do. The next six months I have some extra time carved out each week to work on this. And if at the end of six months, there isn’t momentum/followers, at least I’ve learned a few more things around marketing, copywriting, blogging, social media, and websites.

But… if there is movement there, then I’ll send my book plan to an editor with a book plan and move forward on trying to get my book published.

Sigh.

You mean I have to be patient and actually put in the hard work and not just try to catch a lucky break when it comes to this stuff?

Yeah.

That being said. I’m still another six months out from even presenting my book anywhere for publish. Even if that is self-publish. Thus…this blog, will become something…different…new…in the very soon future.

I don’t mean to string you along as reader. I hope to add value to your time. And I think I can do that better moving forward. So stay tuned folks! And look for my photos on another website also coming soon!

Get That Book Published!

Sept 24th, 2017

I’d like to announce that I’ve published my book.

No. I mean. I’d like to…but I can’t. Because I haven’t. Sorry for the teaser. Turns out to publish a book takes more than a shiny blog. I need to…

  1. Re-work my outline.
  2. Have built a following of some 10,000 people to start.
  3. Then go back through the process of editing my book.

Like…real work.

Farts.

I want to press the easy button, I want to quit.

I feel like I did sorta quit, I got distracted with other things in life. Good things, and things that didn’t matter as much. And I got discouraged. Turns out to build an audience you actually have to write things that are important and life giving to your audience on a consistent basis. Advertise and market your blog.  And write on a consistent basis.

I started off great. Switched to self hosting. Started blogging again. But lost that framed time I spent on the 100 Day Book Challenge working on my craft. Add in summer trips, job, marriage, mentoring, and blah blah blah.

All excuses I’m sure.

I’m seeing, at least for me, that much like the 100 Day Book Program, I need help in the next steps toward getting published. And I can’t do that on my own. I need a community of writers helping me work through the process.

So I’m a little stuck. And need help getting unstuck. Maybe Joe and The Write Practice community have something for that. I’m guessing yes. I think that’s why The Write Practice works so well.

 

 

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