Saturday, April 04, 2009

So you want to be an author

You may have noticed (you small cadre of visitors) that the postings here have been more frequent of late. That's because I'm spending more time focused on writers, books, and the world of publishing.

This may be in part because I've dipped my toe tentatively into my next book project. By tentative I mean, I've begun the process of writing again, albeit, more sporadically than I'd like, but it's begun.

As a writer that derives most of his income from some other source besides my writing/publishing, having a demanding day job can make finding writing time challenging, but not impossible.

My last book, Moxietown, came together over a five month period that entailed 70+ hour weeks in order to have a book out in time for a deadline, which for that book, was the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls.

The new book, which I'll remain mum about until later, is less deadline driven, and more about capturing a period in my life that's always been lurking as a book idea, and the time seems right to make it happen. More to come about that.

I happened across a website for the writer, John McNally (can't recall how I ended up at his site), and found that he dishes some good material for aspiring writers, such as the following:

This may be basic to the point of sounding stupid, but if you want to write, you need to read. I can't begin to tell you how many people write but don't read, or, if they do read, they don't read anything contemporary. Writing doesn't work that way. You need to be reading all the time - great books, good books, crappy ones.

McNally's advice about learning to tell the difference between good writing, and crap, is important, particularly since it's not necessarily subjective.

I'm not sure if this happens for other writers, but when people find out that I've written two books, I get a variation of the response, "I'd like to write a book someday," or, "I know I've got a book in me." While I rarely say it, I often think, "have at it," knowing what it takes to get a book to the finish line.

It isn't easy, but if you really are a writer, it's just something that you have to do, especially once you've done it once. In fact, for me, when I'm not actively engaged in working on a new book idea, I usually feel guilty, like I'm not being true to my calling.

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