wily book-writing expectations refuse to be tamed

Are you planning to finish and self-publish your book in 2016?

The beginning of the year is a great time to commit to these kinds of endeavors, but it’s also a good time to get started. I know for me, and for many of us creatives, it’s easy to see the year spreading ahead of us, and difficult to actually get past the commitment stage, toward something more tangible.

I’m not going to peppily assure you that finishing a creative project of any scope is going to be bright and easy–I’m not a chipmunk, and I’ve been part of reality for long enough to know that this kind of work is sometimes more complicated internally than any of us can really explain.

However, I will also say this: Sometimes these kinds of projects have a way of taking up much more time than we expect. 

Project creep is a very real thing, and even for the experienced among us, we have a tendency to estimate and project based on our best possible version of us, rather than the real, actual version of us. This is true in writing, in publishing, and even in business.

It’s also so much easier and more fulfilling to plan for Rockstar Brenda than Reality Brenda–but I don’t live in Rockstarland. And unfortunately (or seriously, maybe fortunately!) neither do you.

What I want to remind you here, though, is that none of this means anything. It doesn’t mean anything that we’re optimistic with our expectations, unless we let it mean something. Our time away doesn’t mean we’re not cut out for this, or that you’re a bad writer, or even that you’re not dedicated. Wily, untamed expectations are just that–don’t let them run your life.

If you’re sitting on your manuscript, finished or not, now is a good time to dust it off. If it’s ready for a professional eye, contact an editor, find a writing group, whatever. Get someone else to look at your stuff and get talking about your work. 

If it’s not finished, it’s okay to come back to it. You don’t need to do penance for the time you’ve been away–your book doesn’t know. And neither will your readers, once you’ve finished it. If you’re struggling, find a group of people to keep you accountable. Join a group. If you’re interested in something let by me–sign up here, so you’re first to know when I’ve put the finishing touches on my upcoming Drafting Support Group.

And finally, realize that book writing and book editing and book everything is an imperfect science. It’s going to take longer than you want it to, it’s going to take longer than you expect, and that’s okay. Even in extreme cases, the amount of wiggle room is going to be 10-15% of the overall process.

But do yourself a favor, and start now. Especially if you can hear your book calling to you. Especially then.

If you’d like some support with the editorial process–don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m happily accepting projects, comprehensive and otherwise.

But whatever you do, move forward. Gently.

finding your narrative voice

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Okay. The new Cosmos is long over, I know. (Still, for the record: Neil DeGrasse Tyson is like my personal hero.) But I’ve just gotten around to watching the OLD Cosmos on Netflix. And I want to talk about Carl Sagan. And mostly, I want to talk about how Carl Sagan talks. Have you watched […]

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Look. There’s a lot of information on the internet about maximizing your writing process. You can find articles that will tell you to write in the morning. Or the evening. Or with an outline. Or with a story board. With people, without people. Chronologically. Not chronologically. Standing up! Sitting down! (Fight! Fight! Fight!) Guess what? It’s […]

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