Tuesday, October 9, 2018

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting to Write a Book

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

"Here's the thing: The book that will most change your life is the book you write.

-Seth Godin

I’m up to my arse in alligators writing my first book, a non-fiction tale of how writing heals. It’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces meets Sacred Contracts, with a dash of Big Magic and Artist's Way mixed in. No, I haven’t joined the club of authors who’ve written their first book or novel--not yet. Chapter 7 is complete—only six more to go.


Now halfway through the writing journey, here are six things I wish I knew 
 (and embraced) before starting to write my book 18 months ago:

1. Assemble your team

I thought that I could write this book by myself. Why not? The proof was that as a co-author, my stories appeared in seven books, five of them #1 Amazon International Bestsellers. 

Instead, I plodded along with lackadaisical energy. Stopped. Started. Participated in my online book writing course thinking this was enough. Not even close!

Finally, two months ago when I set the publishing date of March 20, 2019, to coincide with the Spring Equinox, the illusionary fog of writing this book alone lifted. 

Why? The wake-up whack came in August; an email notified me that my panel proposal to host and present the book’s topic was accepted from 17,000 proposals. I was headed to North America’s largest literary event, the Annual Conference of the Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs in Portland, Oregon. 

Yikes! My book must be published by March 26. I needed help and fast.

What started the ball rolling came through a coaching session with Bryna Haynes, a successful author, and creator of Cover to Cover: How to Write Your  World Changing Book in 8 Easy Steps. One of her suggestions included hiring an editor and publisher sooner than later.

Gratefully at the same time, J.S. Devivre, the publisher with E. Gads Hill Press, reached out to say my book received a scholarship from Whimsilcalitea. A "pen to paper to publishing" roadmap then provided dates, tasks, and “waymarks” (deadlines) to move the book forward. She also explained the different kinds of editors to include people who could assist with copy, development, and line changes. A dynamic editor capable of all three skill sets is now hired. 

There’s a timeless truth in John Donne's wisdom that “No man is an island. No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others." 

This includes book writers.



2. Begin with the end in mind

Start off by setting your book's intentions and goals. Create each book chapter’s title page with an image and quote. Print them out and include in your book writing binder. The next step is designing and printing a cover to make the book come alive; wrap it around a hardcover book the same size book you're planning to publish.

Next, choose the person to write the foreword. Dream big! Why not? 

Imagination and visualization become the healthy diet to feed your creative spirit. For the past two months, I often visit in my mind's eye the date of March 20, 2019. It's thrilling to imagine friends and writing sisters being launch partners; enjoying the Facebook launch event; opening up boxes of books at my Portland hotel and; holding a copy up at the AWP19 Conference panel presentation. 

I also noodle plans for book signings and speaking events in Oregon, California, and Florida. It’s fun shopping online for items to pop into the book’s swag bags at these events. Creative playtime fuels my writing.

Waves of joy, satisfaction, eagerness, and gratitude always flood my senses.


Beginning with the end in mind this spring: Seeing myself in Portland 2019!
3. Unplug to plug in

You can’t stay in your keyboard head all day. Inspiration isn’t automatic so I’ve learned to take “inspiration commercials.” 

Do something physical.

For me, this translates to cleaning a junk drawer; walking for 18 minutes practicing energy medicine exercises and; cooking. Some days I stroll the sugar sands of the Gulf of Mexico after the morning writing is complete.

Words flow where the energy goes—so physical activities are a positive way to balance head, heart, hands, and body. Then, get ready for splashes of Divine Downloads! 
Whoosh~
Walking near any body of water is the perfect way to "unplug to plug in."
4. Distractions be gone

These “blue meanies” (as my publisher calls them), continue to pop up like mini-energy vampires. Stay vigilant! Make it a daily priority to clear the decks so that your writing time is a “No Interruption Zone.” 

To do that, prep the day’s materials, snacks, and water in advance; never turn on the Internet and; set boundaries with loved ones that you’re not in the office. Consider inviting them to pretend you’re out running errands.

Checking social media is my reward for writing until a CD with Theta Wave music stops. That way, no alarm is needed, only a gentle, silent reminder to take a break.

“Blue meanies” (as my publisher calls them) continue to pop up like mini-energy vampires.

5. Sloppy Copy is essential crapola

Do you edit ad nauseam like me? You might suffer from perfection paralysis. If yes, stop it! Your first draft is supposed to be a non-sensical, ooey-gooey mess. More is better in this case.

My writing is now a pure stream of consciousness while keeping my hand moving, not stopping to think and only to…write, write, write! This is not the time for perfect spelling or Grammarly, the world's most accurate online grammar checker. This is the time for writing sloppy copy! The result is nothing short of miraculous—the book is getting written.

You can always return and edit or with a team member. And here’s the gift: You can do this as many times as you choose. How cool is that?


My sloppy copies look like this with highlighting! Mine are colorful, ooey-gooey messes.

6. Faith it ’til you make it

No one said it would be easy to write a book. Always the optimist, I thought it would be easy since friends described me as a strong and prolific writer. But then, I didn't know what I didn't know. How could I? This is my first book.

To counter the hills and valleys on this writing journey be sure to pack and repack your faith. Believe that the message deserves to be shared; that only you can tell this particular story through your authentic voice and; that your book serves a Higher good.

If you can’t ’faith it until you make it over the publishing finish line, that’s where your team comes in—ask them to express their faith in you and your book. For me, part of my team is the free, private Facebook group, the Writer's VisionQuest designed to help "transform your words into somewhere brilliant."

"Book is writing me." - Lore Raymond


SHOUT OUTS!
Happy birthday to authors:
October 11: Eleanor Roosevelt (1884); Thich Nhat Hanh (1926); October 14e.e. Cummings and me; October 15: Virgil (70 B.C.); P.G. Wodehouse (1881); Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1917): Italo Calvino (1923); Roxane Gay (1974); October 16: Noah Webster (1758); Oscar Wilde (1854); Eugene O’Neill (1888); Günter Grass (1927) and; October 17: Nathanael West (1903); Arthur Miller (1915)
PLUS, today's the day. SHINE! is now available.
Spotlighting my writing sisters even though I'm not a contributor to SHINE! Congratulations everyone!

14 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! Anyone who has ever embarked on writing their story should read this first! I was blessed to have the writing sisters of Writer's VisionQuest! <3 Thank you for all of your love and encouragement, Lore!

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  2. You're most welcome, dear Kathleen. Enjoy and celebrate YOUR special day!

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    1. I love the way everything is working out for you, Lore. Looks like the Universe decided to give you a push in the right direction. :)

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    2. Thanks..indeed, the Universe always has my back! Have you written a book?

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  3. What a magical process and yet so practical. I love that you are learning lessons along the way, course correct and share your wisdom with others.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Rachel. The lessons learned continue and I hope they help others if they choose to write a book...how about you?

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  4. Hey, Lore -

    You're absolutely right -- and so many people think that writing a book is a solo venture.

    I love your third point. When I was working on my first book, I was single and living alone. I often started writing at 4 or 5 in the morning, with a reward of my dark roast sometime after 6 when the shop opened. By afternoon, when I was "worded out," I would turn to gardening or mowing the lawn. My across-the-street-neighbor said she knew I was having a good day when I started and stopped the mower multiple times. That physical stuff really works. Keep on keeping on!

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    1. I appreciate your confirmation of #3 and your story! How intersting that your neighbors knew about your writing process!

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  5. Hi Lore! THIS POST is WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for sharing your story and tips about writing. Your writing, as always, is brilliant, captivating and helpful!! Thank you for sharing this post!

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  6. Lore, fabulous blog post with wonderful tips. I especially love the expression "faith it til you make it!"

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  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I recently wrote a book. I almost can't believe how fast it went once I put my mind to it. I had been debating on how to do it for some time. I finally got brave enough to share a story about my spiritual experience. Once I did, all of it just flowed. I wrote from my heart. I will be submitting it to a publisher this month.

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    1. You're welcome Heather Maria. Congratulations for completing this seondbook! Best wishes for its release into the world.

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