The Author Journey: Book Preparation and Taking My First Steps
Next month will mark the five year anniversary of my book The E-Ticket Life. That’s absolutely insane to me as it feels like hardly any time has passed since that first box of books arrived at my doorstep. Just as crazy is the fact that it’s been nearly three years since I released the ebook Write, Print, Publish, Promote, in which I shared my personal experience with and insight on self-publishing. Perhaps that would explain why, for the past few months, I’ve been itching to start another project — and I’ve finally got one.
Of course, just having an idea for a book doesn’t get you all that much closer to actually writing it. On top of that, while it was interesting recalling my book-publishing adventure in my ebook, I thought it’d be even more beneficial to join me for a real-time look at the process. That’s why I’m excited to kick off a new monthly series here on Money@30 where I’ll be sharing updates on my book’s status, including what steps I’m taking, what’s going well, what’s not going well, and much more.
So, to start things off, let’s talk about how I’ve been prepping for this new undertaking.
My Plan for Writing My Next Book
As I’ve stated many times previously, I believe planning to be the most important part of writing a manuscript. While some writers may be able to simply sit down at their computer and let their entire book flow from their fingers, I’m willing to bet that the majority of us could benefit from having a road map instead. That’s why I’ve spent the past few days — my first official week since setting this goal — working on further developing my idea and outlining the bones of my book.
While I won’t get into exactly what my book is about just yet, I will say that it will include a series of stories from my life. Thus, the first step in plotting my manuscript is making a master list of what tales I want to tell. From there, I can start arranging these chapters in a way I think will make sense (since non-fiction books don’t need to be quite as linear as many novels do). That said, even if I do have an idea for how these stories will eventually be laid out, the beauty of having this list ahead of time is that I can skip around to whatever I feel like working on at a given time. All of this makes it much easier to just get started and worry about the rest later.
Adjusting my routine
In order to accommodate and make time for writing my manuscript, I’ve also had to take a look at my daily routine and determine what adjustments I could make. While I could technically find an extra hour or so in my current day in which to write, the truth is that, at the end of my regular workday, I cannot be trusted to find such discipline. That’s why I’ve instead decided to begin waking up early. In fact, I’ve already put this plan into action and it’s working out pretty well — aside from a couple of stormy nights that led me to hit the snooze button come morning.
Incidentally, getting up early doesn’t necessarily mean that I sit down and start working on my manuscript first thing. In reality, I prefer to ease into my day, handling some of the other aspects of my job while eating breakfast and sipping coffee. This then frees me up to move to over to writing whenever I see fit. On that note, I’ve also been trying to stay a day ahead of my workload to add further flexibility to my writing time. Of course, with this plan still less than two weeks old, I’m still getting up to speed. Nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll get there with a little more practice.
Letting myself “just write”
You’ve probably heard it said that, as an author, you should allow yourself to simply start a draft and not worry about making it quality until later. That’s smart advice — but that’s doesn’t mean it’s always easy to follow. Personally, when I realize that I don’t know what to say or that what I’m typing is hot trash, my first instinct is to delete it and think until I get something better. Unfortunately, this can often derail my writing entirely. That’s why, this time around, I’m really making an effort to just let myself write first and edit later.
Going back to my routine for a moment, one thing I have yet to decide is when I actually want to do this editing. While part of me wants to just put together a draft and then start polishing, it may make sense more to revisit chapters sooner than that — at least the ones I know I’m not very happy with. I guess this is just one aspect I’ll have to play by ear.
Truth be told, finding the daily motivation to do anything let alone write a book can be difficult. That’s why having someone who can both push you and cheer you on can be so impactful. Thankfully, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to install this accountability in my plan.
First, I’ve recruited my wife to get up early with me each day… or at least ensure that I get out of bed. This is key as, when I’ve previously, secretly intended to become an early riser, I’ve always backed out at the last minute (as in I would literally wake up just before my alarm and reset it). Plus, with her getting up at the same time, we can opt to treat ourselves to some coffee out or maybe work in a walk if the weather looks nice.
As for the other half of my accountability plan, well, you’re reading it. Yes, by clicking this article, you’ve unwittingly become a part of my journey and are now solely responsible for my success. In all seriousness, starting this series is intended to help keep this goal at the top of my mind and ensure that I stay the course. So thanks!
With it being far too long since I wrote my last book — and with this idea having been stuck in my head for a while now — it’s finally time to get serious about this project. Now, armed with a plan, a new routine, and some people to help hold me accountable, I’m ready to rock and roll. With that, please be sure to join be next month and beyond as I take you along for this latest journey.
Also published on Medium.