How many times have you sat in a movie and said to yourself, “Shoot, I could write a better story than that!”? Me, too, and more often than I can remember. Likewise, how many times have you worked your way half-way through a book before giving up and setting it up on the top shelf, there to gather dust for a decade? Right, we’ve all done it and were on the side of the right to do so. Ah, but how many times have you steeled yourself and actually jumped in, pulling your chair up to your typewriter or computer and set to work on the Great American Novel? Notwithstanding that my aspirations are slightly less grand, I’ve made the move.
Please. No applause. I bring this to your attention only to note that there turns out to be far more to the adventure than I initially imagined. I thought I’d give you a look at the process — just in case the writing bug bites you — that goes well beyond dreaming up a good story and the discipline to see it through. A process that reveals me to be a bona fide rookie.
First, the discipline part is very real, defined by the knowledge that some writers can burn up years turning out just one tome, while others can turn out a half-dozen books in a couple of years, some with machine-like proficiency that is dazzling. For the most part it’s a matter of the kind of schedule you set for yourself that can be re-calibrated according to success or the lack of it. In my case it’s a word-count per day, which typically amounts to between 500 and a thousand words a day when I can get myself off the couch. Somebody once said that Hemingway turned out 400 words on an average day. Again, the trick is actually doing it; I sometimes delude myself into believing that simply thinking about what I might want to say is legitimate.
As a first step –even as I work toward completing a larger work by this summer — I’ve pulled together 40 posts from this very blog as a sampler that’s now an ebook called Zephyr Again! and is available on Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and others. If you have an interest in reprising those oldies but goodies one more time for $2.99, please be my guest. Add it to the library on your Kindle. I’d be honored.
Anyhow, we’ll see how it goes. As much as anything I wanted to go through the whole action to see what’s involved…and it turns out that there’s a lot. One of my colleagues in the authoring biz says that selling a book is five-percent writing and 95-percent promotion. I’m not so sure about those percentages, but I am finding that marketing what you write is a major undertaking, primarily because no one knows you’re there. So you have to find ways to do that and then keep at it, almost daily. The light at the end of the tunnel, of course, is finally gaining name recognition that sticks, based on a reliable product that people look for and are rewarded in their search with a good read.
So again, there is a learning curve. I seem to have a fair idea of how to create a coherent sentence or two, which is based on several decades of writing in the corporate world, some of it promotional copy, much of it as speeches for the movers and shakers in aerospace. The notion is to bend those abilities into words that tell a story. Once more, we’ll see.
Who knows? I could end up doing a book-signing at a store at your local mall. Just be sure to bring your own pen, and at least buy the book!