Writing, editing, and publishing a book or story are different activities. For me, the first is a thrilling endorphins ride that makes my brain snap happy and sharp, the second offers the pleasure of precision and nearing the finish line, and the third is, well, about as much fun as climbing to the top floor of a very tall building (the elevator is out). I can take 40 years’ of writerly experience, distill it on the page and polish it, but getting it to market presents challenges.
Self publish? Partner or hybrid publish? Or go the traditional route and pray to be as evergreen as “Good Night Moon?” In other words, publishing invites hard work, speculation, and letting go. It’s no wonder so many writers quit just before the finish line. It’s a frustrating option. I’d rather persevere. I’d like some company, so please join me for some tips, tea, and sympathy on your own ascent.
Start for the joy of the idea waking you up in the middle of the night and writing you. It’s not torture, you can sleep later. If the idea and all its permutations are with you over time, develop it. Add chapters, an outline, whatever the form requires. Don’t even think about fixing it at first. Let the words spill, flow, and take shape organically. At some point you will tire of the unruly monster and give it a nap. Refreshed, you and your writing can get to stage two, revision and editing.
In our commodified culture, we are tempted to jump to branding, platforms, publication deals, and all manner of marketing and promotion. Wait. The time will come when you are finished. You will know it. If you hesitate, ask a friend, partner, buddy or two for input. You may need a little fine tuning. Keep going. Plan next steps and develop new muscles. If you can, hire people to do the stuff you least enjoy, like building a website or coming up with a marketing plan.
You may hate and resist these steps. Pretend you are being paid big bucks, as if you were hired by somebody else. Notice resistance in its myriad forms, the desire to quit, take a nap, or go to the movies. Cut yourself a little slack, but not too much. Do what works, like keeping simple to do lists (which include delicious rewards) to get through the tasks on your way to publishing. Plan the party of your dreams, a trip to the birthplace of a favorite author. And go to sleep at night fully confident that you are doing your darn best.
Somehow, your words will fly from mind to page to an eager audience.