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Quitting – That thing you should never do.

A letter to my writing buddy:

So, something scary happened last night, but I’m glad it didn’t. My writing buddy and best friend Maegan almost threw in the towel with her book. She was having trouble with a chapter, and it was one of those important chapters that sets up stuff for later in the book. She couldn’t get it right, no matter how hard she tried. The feedback she’s been getting had discouraged her, and she had pretty much made the decision to give up, because her ‘writing was crap’. If she couldn’t fix the chapter, the rest of the book wouldn’t work.

I told her it was growing pains – it’s your first book, and the first draft will never be perfect. Thats what second drafts are for, and third. That’s what beta readers and editors are for. Thats what notes to yourself in your chapter files is for. I’m pretty sure every author ever has had a point in the beginning of their writer’s career that discouraged them to the point of quitting. But the difference between successful writers and non successful writers is the fact that the successful ones kept writing. You have to keep writing, no matter what! Everything is ‘fixable’.

Maegan! Never give up! Never surrender! Harper needs you! Your writing doesn’t suck! Stop doubting yourself and just do it!

Constructive criticism is a delicate subject. It hurts when someone tells you something you’ve written doesn’t quite work. But they’re not telling you that because the whole thing sucks – they’re helping you polish up this already cool, shiny thing. It’s not personal, and it’s not an attack on skill. It’s better to catch these things early and fix them. And you did! You fixed chapter 4, and it was fucking awesomesauce. Let it be a lesson to you! Never give up! Never surrender! YOU CAN DO EEEEET.

I knew she could do it. The moment I knew she could do it was when I asked her “Do you want to write a book?” and she said “yes”. That’s all you need. Really. Just the want to do it. SO DO IT.

I had the same kind of issue with my chapter 7. It was a life sucking black whole of shittyness. But in writing said shittyness, I figured out what parts of it were wrong, and wrote myself a note about. That way, when I get done and go back for edits and second draft, I’ll know exactly what I need to write. I’ve been there, my dear friend, and I feel you.

Just keep chugging away; you’ll get there.

Love you Maegan,

-T

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

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Repost – Ten Tips for People Thinking about Writing a Book

I found this post, and I liked it so much, I decided to repost it. I don’t own anything, and the original page can be found here. Original article posted by Guy Kawasaki.

If you checked the list of what people want to do before they die, you’d see that many want to write a book. This is a good thing because the more people who write books, the more enlightened the world will become. It just so happens that technology has made the process of writing a book easier than ever. Still “easier than ever” is not the same thing as “easy.” I wrote a book called APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur to help you write your book. Here are my top ten tips.

1. Write for the right reasons. Writing is an art form, and a book is an end in itself—don’t write a book solely because it is a means to an end. The good reasons to write a book are the desire to enrich people’s lives, to further a cause, to achieve an intellectual milestone, and to get something off your chest. The bad reasons are to make a lot of money or to increase your consulting or speaking business.

2. Use Microsoft Word. It’s true that Word is a bazooka, and you may only need a fly swatter, but everyone in the industry uses a bazooka. You can save a few bucks and avoid the Microsoft hegemony when you’re in the writing stage, but when lots of people (editors, reviewers, designers and online resellers) need to use your file, you may regret using another word processor. Two fine points: first, save your Word documents in the .doc, not .docx, format so that people using old versions of Word can open your file. Second, format your entire book using Word’s “styles.” This will make layout and conversion much easier down the road.

3. Write every day. I’ve written twelve books. If you had asked me if I thought I would write twelve books back when I started, I would have told you that you were hallucinating. How did I do it? Writing a little bit every day. Don’t ask yourself, “How will I ever get to 60,000 words?” because it will make the task seem insurmountable. Just write something every day—even if it’s only a paragraph. One day you’ll wake up, and your book will be done. If you wait for that perfect time when the kids are asleep and making straight As, you may never start (much less finish).

4. Build your marketing platform. The hardest part of making a book successful may be marketing (not writing) it. Unless you have a great publicist with a powerful publisher, you are the “vice president of marketing” of your book. It takes a year to build a marketing platform, so get started at the same time as you’re writing. If you wait until your book is done, it’s too late. My recommendation is to spend two hours a day writing and one hour a day on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

5. Start with a Kindle ebook. First, Amazon’s Kindle service might amount to 80-90 percent of your sales. If your book is successful on Amazon, it will succeed elsewhere. If it’s not successful on Amazon, it probably won’t succeed elsewhere. Second, start with the ebook format. If it takes off, then you may want to go to print. But there’s little reason to go to print immediately unless you are writing, for example, a photography book.

6. Tap the crowd. The crowd is a beautiful thing. It’s full of people who know more than you do and are willing to give of themselves freely and unselfishly. They will provide content ideas, editing, and word-of-mouth marketing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people will contribute to your efforts for the intrinsic joy of helping a writer. The crowd will help you finish your book, which is another reason to start building your platform immediately.

7. Hire a copyeditor. If you’re going to self-publish your book, the worst way to try to save money is by not hiring a professional copyeditor. Copyediting is a specialized and refined skill—to use a medical analogy, only a fool would self-diagnose and self-medicate in an emergency. The goal is to produce a book that is as good as, or better, than a book from a large traditional publisher. You cannot do this without a professional copyeditor.

8. Hire a cover designer. The second worst way to try to save money is by designing your book cover. Like copyediting, design is a special skill that takes years of training and practice. People are going to glance at a postage-stamp size image of your cover next to ten others on Amazon. You have less than a second to convince them to click on your book to learn more and read reviews. They won’t click unless your cover is effective.

9. Test your ebook. In a perfect world, what you upload from Word and what online resellers deliver as an ebook would match. Every page, image, line break, and font would be right. This isn’t a perfect world. The bugs and glitches that can appear because of the conversion process from manuscript to ebook will shock, depress, and enrage you. You need to test your ebook on every platform that people will read it on: computer, tablet, reader, Macintosh, Windows, Android, and iOS. Don’t assume that any conversion process is 100% accurate.

10. Never give up. There are qualities that every published author shares: first, they wanted to give it all up. Second, they didn’t give it all up. Writing a book is one of the most difficult tasks in life. Fortunately, or maybe because it’s so difficult, it is also one of the most rewarding tasks in life. When you feel like you can’t type another word, can’t re-read another draft, and can’t face another rejection, remember that every author goes through these phases. It’s only the successful ones who never give up.

Guy Kawasaki is the co-author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book with Shawn Welch. The book’s thesis is powerful yet simple: filling the roles of author, publisher, and entrepreneur yields results that rival traditional publishing.

 

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