I want to write a book and get it published

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I want to write a book and get it published

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:45 pm

And I have kind of a plan to get it done. But it's missing a few pieces still, and some of those are the most immediate ones.

I know what I'm going to write about. It's going to a collection of personal essays, around 5000 words each, where I use my diagnosis as a lens to examine my own life, and maybe the human condition. I have two or three chapters I'm more or less halfway through.

I know how to write. I've been writing steadily for about 7 years, almost daily, in sessions between 30 and 60 minutes each. I am starting to acquire a pretty good toolbox for the task.
The one thing I haven't done a lot of, is completing projects larger than a blog entry, forum post, or unpaid amateur erotic short story. Besides that, I coauthored a role-playing game back in 2008, and that's more or less it.

So finishing a project is the next thing I need to learn, and that's where I'm going to need a plan.
When I'm doing a project all on my own, the structure tends to erode along the way. I get lost in some detail, or I get caught up in another project, you know, something new and shiny… the stamina to see something through has to be learned, and I haven't quite gotten to that point yet.

The solution is to find some sort of external commitment. When I have someone to look over my shoulder, someone to report to regularly, someone to nag at me until I deliver, I'm able to finish stuff. My time at work training, and then my internship, has showed me that. But at the same time, I'm pretty resistant to outside demands, and I can get quite cranky about it. It could potentially be a lot of emotional work for someone to apply pressure in the exact way that helps me structure myself.

At some point, when I have a few chapters, I plan to write a proposal, take it to a publisher, maybe apply for a grant from some fund or other, and if I can get those things done, I have enough external commitment to do the rest.

But before I get that far… I could really use someone to help me stay on course, someone who could meet me from time to time in physical space and talk about ideas and help me set some goals… and I don't know how to ask, or who to ask, or how to reduce the amount of work it would take, or how to make the remaining work worth their while…

so that's the part of my plan that I need to work out next, and I thought I could ask for some guidance or some suggestions…

(This is by the way my post #500)
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Re: I want to write a book and get it published

Post by Enail on Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Congratulations on 500!

It sounds like maybe you need a critique partner, someone who's also writing who you could meet up with regularly to exchange feedback and hold each other accountable. What you do to make it worth their while is to do the same for them. There seem to be lots of sites for online match-ups, but maybe there's also something to help find local partners. Alternatively, look for a writers' group that sets regular goals and has some kind of critique schedule or plan.
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Re: I want to write a book and get it published

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:55 am

Hi. It's taken me a while to reply to this... I'm working to improve my online response rate, but last week I ran out of mental resources because I had an overdose of change in my life, and haven't quite got things started up again since then. Which is part of the problem I'm writing about... when I'm moving in a certain direction and then lose my track for whatever reason, I have a very hard time getting back on.

Finding someone who needs a similar sort of help, or partnership, sounds like a good solution. I'm not so sure about exchanging critiques, or going deeply into each other's work... can't quite put my finger on why, except my own challenge here is less about the actual writing and more about maintaining progress. So the ideal conversation with a partner of this sort would sound something like "this is the work I've done since last, this is my plan for the next period, do you have any input? Now how about your project?".

It could maybe be interesting to find someone who's working on something other than writing...

But going out there to search for someone still feels like a quite a large operation, and something I should break up into smaller steps.

Anyway, one thing I worry about is that if a partnership of accountability for some reason ends prematurely, it might take me a step back from not having had one at all. For the same reason I mentioned above... once I lose track of a certain path, it's all that harder to get back on.

Which means the person I find should be someone likely to not give up on their own project for a while, likely to turn up when we have scheduled meetings, willing to meet one final time and wrap things up if a premature can't be avoided... I'll of course offer the same level of commitment myself... but it's a lot of making my own plans dependant on someone else's actions. So I should probably have a plan B of some sort, something I can do for myself to avoid losing track completely.
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Re: I want to write a book and get it published

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:07 pm

Short update: I've been working steadily on two separate essays, one about work and one about communication. They're growing larger than I had planned, each reaching towards 10 000 words. I'm still not sure how to round off either of them, and a bit afraid that I'll just remain stuck on these to chapters for so long that I'll give up before I get to the rest of the book, but that could be just because of how immersed I am. And when I look at it, I have kind of managed to get to the core of one essay – the part that's hardest to write because it's the part that matters the most – and in the process maybe discovered the answer to why I'm not quite suited for academic research or at least wasn't at the time I wrote my Master's thesis. And on the other one I might be headed towards a conclusion. So maybe I'm just underestimating myself.
Anyway, I haven't quite found a partner for mutual accountability-keeping yet, and I'm still pretty afraid to ask… I still go to the monthly rest-of-the-year-NaNo-meetings and talk about my projects there, though, and the other day I talked with someone at work about getting together out of work and talk about our respective writing projects for a bit. (They're work-related enough, anyway. It concerns mental health, which is the name of my organization.)

So things are moving forward, in this and many other areas of my life. I'm just a bit impatient, after 25 years of writing, to start producing more than one book per decade…
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