What Does It Take To Write A Book? - (Do you have what it takes?)
As a retired firefighter/paramedic, those of us in the field used to say that if you showed a cardiogram to 10 different doctors, you would get ten different interpretations. Although that may not be totally true, it does have some merit. I have taken a cardiogram on a patient that challenged me to interpret to different doctors for their opinion. More than once many had a different interpretation of what they saw.
The bottom line is everyone interprets things differently, especially when there is room for interpretation. Not everything is black and white. Many things have a grey area. When this occurs, it requires more research or additional opinions. The topic of tonight's blog post falls into that category. It's a grey area and subject to the opinion of the individual you are asking. Therefore, much of this post is my opinion on the topic. However, an opinion based on making many mistakes, and years of learning. Many will agree, and some may not, when we compare various conditions, we have to take a step back and look at them logically to reach a reasonable conclusion. There is a method to the madness of figuring out a problem and finding the right solution. May I add, not after a great deal of confusion and screwing up. The problem in the book industry is, when you screw up, it costs you money. Sometimes, a great deal of money.
When I think of what I used to pay to have book video trailers made, I choose not to think about it. People are visual. They like to see things, especially short videos. Therefore, I learned how to do it myself, spent the money on the programs and equipment, and eventually got good at it. Enough so, that I started Altech Videos and started to make them for other writers at a much cheaper cost. If you want to see some samples of my video trailers, click on the tab on the menu Altech Videos. From the dropdown menu, select Altech Video Studios. Moving on.
Carol from Utah emailed me this week with an intriguing question which is why I chose her topic suggestion for tonight's post. As an aspiring writer, she asked, "What Does It Take To Write A Book? That is an EXCELLENT question. It took a good amount of thought to break it down and develop what I felt was the proper answer. I receive this question many times. SO much so, I developed many tutorials on writing.
After reading this post, if you want to learn more about the writing process, I offer many inexpensive courses on writing a book and other business tutorials on UDEMY.COM. All courses are audio-visual presentations with free downloads. You can preview each course for free before you take it. Each course lasts approximately 1 1/2 hours.
LET"S SEE WHAT WE DON'T NEED:
I often take a reverse approach when answering questions, especially during public speaking The purpose is to weed out the non-important variables and focus directly on the question. So, let's try that here.
You do not need to be an English major. We have editors that correct our mistakes.
You don't need a great deal of time unless your book topic involves time-related materials.
Your spelling does not have to be perfect because we now have very reliable spelling checkers, and don't forget that editor.
You don't need a lot of money. Many self-publish, so the most significant expense is marketing your book.
You don't need to rent office space. Instead, pick somewhere comfortable and private.
These are just a few Now,
LET'S SEE WHAT WE DO NEED:
A degree of creativity
Once again, these are just a few. However, to correctly answer this question, I think we need to focus on what may be considered by most, the most important We can work around all of those things except for one. By looking at that list, I believe it is patience.
Let's see a show of hands for those who agree that patience is an essential item. Great. I agree. Now we need to understand why. LEt's face it. We all live in an 'I want it now world.'
Everything aspect of writing a good book is a waiting game. Each step requires PATIENCE before anything else. If you don't have patience, it will leads to frustration, which leads to a lack of productivity, and a waste of precious time. A total anti-productive experience. If you want to write a book, you must know going in that you won't have the best ideas every time you sit down to write. In addition, incredible ideas come to you at random moments. Most times, when you are not able to sit down and write. That is why I always tell people to carry a notebook or keep one by the bed. In one of my murder mysteries, I was struggling with how I wanted to end it and sequel into the next book. It was driving me crazy. One night I awoke in the middle of the night and it came to me. I grabbed my pad and pencil and wrote my ideas down. Yes, you can use the voice memo feature on your smartphone as well.
You may write and rewrite a scene or segment in your book many times before deciding on the final wording. To this day, I look back on my first books and read parts that I know I could have written better. Thus, the learning process. However, you can get stuck in what I call 'the scene loop.' Whereas, you read it so many times and change things here and there that you never settle on the final wording. You are stuck in the loop. We are all human. It is natural to look back on something and see where you could have done it better. The reason is, the more we do something the better we get at it. Therefore, don't be hard on yourself. The best of the best do the same thing.
WRITING TAKES TIME:
Writing takes time. As a writer, you must write in a manner where your readers will understand what story you are trying to tell. If you read and get confused, imagine how your readers will feel. When I first started, I used to edit my own books to save money. TERRIBLE MISTAKE. Did you know that when you read what you have written so many times, you will read over the mistakes and never see them? Remember, you know your story. Your reader does not. As a writer, it is your job to make sure and write in such a manner that a reader understands your story, stays interested, and develops an attachment to you, as well as your characters.
Achieving this takes time. Reading it over and over is part of the process. Have other people read your work to ensure they get what you are writing. It is also human nature to want to finish what we have started as soon as possible. You can not do that as a writer. There is an old saying I love. It goes like this.
You can have it good, or you can have it fast, but you can't have it good and fast.
Everyone has a different approach. The biggest problem most writers face is as they are writing, they go off in left field leaving their storyline in the dust. There are some that can write on the fly without any layout or outline. Others cannot. I can partially do that. Even I find myself straying away from the story. Therefore, what I do is not outline the contents of a chapter, rather, I name my chapters first based on the story, and write within each chapter. This helps me to stay focused and lead into the next chapter and develop the story and characters as necessary.
Some writers have taken over a year to write a book. Many factors affect how long it takes us to write a book. The amount and type of research required, availability of time, other obligations, and waiting for approvals from others. Just to name a few. In all cases, lack of patience is your worst enemy. Becoming frustrated adds fuel to the fire. As I stated earlier, the way to avoid this is to know what you are getting into. Meaning, when writing, nothing happens overnight. There are NO IMMEDIATE RESULTS. There are no magic pills to take to be successful. Instead, there will be days when your ideas will come to you and flow like a running stream.
Other days, a good idea and putting it to paper will be like pulling teeth. Never be that person on the right of our screen. When it's not flowing, get up and walk away. Try again at a different time. By the way, this is just the writing process.
The real work and expense come when it's time to market your book and promote your brand. But first comes the publishing process, book cover design, and other factors before you move on to marketing your book. Advertising isn't cheap and word of mouth alone won't get er' done. Many Hybrid Publishers will provide some of this, but not all of it. That brings us to a Publicist. If you hire someone for your PR, do not expect immediate results. It takes time to get you known and build your notoriety. The hardest thing to do when spending money is to sit back to wait and see the results. If you spend enough and wait long enough, you will start to see results. However, that all depends on how much financing you have available. If you don't have a healthy budget, you are thrown into the mix with the millions of other titles in the marketplace. Di you know that the data shows that an unknown writer will only sell about 125 books a year? Trust me, that profit will not put a dent in what you have spent.
Does this sound discouraging? Don't be. Like anything you do in life, it takes time to get good at it. Most of your top-selling writers will tell you they wrote over 50 books before they had a best seller. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Don't let it prevent you from trying your hand at writing. Just have patience. You already have the desire. Therefore, you have a good start. If you have passion, you will learn to have patience. When I first started, I wanted it all yesterday. Why not? Isn't that normal? No one wants to wait, everything thinks they wrote the best book, and everyone wants to make money. However, that is not reality. As I stated, there are rare cases of overnight success. The writer had the right topic at the right time. This is why planning is essential.
Some might say that a specific genre is more prevalent at certain times of the year than other times of the year. Right now, most books about politics have a better-than-average shot. Just look at how many writers and many unknowns jumped on the writing about Trump wagon. Politics is a hot topic. But you better do your research. Whenever you think you know a great deal about something, someone knows more. If the author is known or is a public figure, they will have the edge. There is no definite pattern. At the end of the day, if it is something you want to try, by all means, try it. Do your research and homework and know what you are getting yourself into. Good luck, and all the best.
Stay safe and be well,
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