Saturday, March 11, 2017

The ABCs of Book Writing: A is for ASPIRATION . . .

Infographic for Weekly Blog Series on Book Writing and Publishing
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 . . . and ALL that goes with it!

No book truly begins with page one or even with the first word you write down or type into a computer. Many authors, long before they actually became authors, began their careers with aspiration, an unrelenting desire to live and breathe the literary life. Such aspiration can emerge at any age, from childhood to the golden years. It can be a heady personal experience, as it is often accompanied by grand dreams of fame and fortune, seemingly boundless creative energy, enough ideas to make your head spin, and a vision of authorship—your own—that could change your life and even the world.

The writer Jacques Barzun (On Writing, Editing, and Publishing) well understood the psychology of the aspiring writer. The dream of authorship is a worthy one, he had no doubt, but he also posed the cautionary question that new writers must ask themselves: "Do I want to write—or to have written?" He concluded that "practicing to write well and finally writing well will repay." In other words, aspiring to authorship must in reality be aspiring to write. It is fine, probably essential, that your vision of authorship includes grand dreams, but your sights must also be trained on the more earthbound task of developing your craft as a writer.

Nurture your dreams, cultivate your creativity, plant your ideas, and grow your vision of what being a book author means to you. At the same time, prepare to write well:

  • Read some good books. Choose your favorites from the present day, but also dip into works of the past to expand your knowledge of all the many possibilities of book writing.

  • Take a writing course or attend a workshop. Writing courses and workshops are a mixed bag, but even the least of them will get you writing and thinking about the many facets of the act and profession of writing.

  • Above all, learn about writing and how the pros do it. There are many excellent books on the craft of writing. Among my favorites are William Zinsser's classic guide to writing nonfiction, On Writing Well; for aspiring fiction authors, I recommend Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Nurture your dreams and learn to write wellYou owe it to yourself and your aspiration to read, to study, and to learn. Strive to write and to write well—or at least as best you can. Keep at it and, as Barzun put it, "Editors and publishers will seek you out, the public will be carried away with love and gratitude."

Hmm . . . these days, maybe not. On the other hand, someone who counts might like your query letter and eventually someone else might write a nice review on Amazon. Either way, you'll be realizing your passion.

Coming next week . . . "B is for BLOCK, writer's"

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