Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

I have been asking about writing for years. How do I Start Writing? What do I need to write? Should I write in the

morning?  Should I get an agent? How do you choose a publisher? In a four-decade career in higher education,

consulting, and new missions, I have posted my questions. Every time I meet an author, I try to figure out what

works. I asked them about their trading tricks. The observations that followed were taken from various conversations

with published authors, book editors, and publishers, along with some news from my own experience. I’ve

rearranged the original comments to make them more accessible, and I’ve borrowed a lot from friends “who know.”

I pay homage to their experience and expertise so freely and lovingly to the craft of writing. Some Writing

thoughts writers experience a “writer’s block.” Stop. Take a short break, like a walk. Maybe read a related book.

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

Pray. Think about what you are trying to convey. All writers experience “author doubts.” That’s one of the reasons

“writer’s colonies” thrive in places like Paris, New York, or Boston. Writers need each other for stimulation,

encouragement, affirmation, and so on. So when you experience “writer’s doubt”, remember, you are normal.

For most of us, writing is work. It may be a fun job, but it still works. That’s the source of an old joke about an author

who was asked, “Do you like writing?” The writer replied, “I enjoy writing.”For some of us, writing is like going on a

diet. We didn’t do it until we wanted to do it. Desire produces discipline. More people aspire to write than they

are. Dreamers dream, the author writes. There are many reasons why people write, personal expressions,

professional obligations, a sense that something “needs to be said”, to earn income, services or services, etc.

Whatever your reason, try to choose a topic that interests you, or at the very least cares. The writing process will be a

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

lot more fun, and you will most likely complete this project. Write once, somehow, every day. Make writing a

habit. Find out why you want to write. Identify what drives you. Set realistic, achievable goals, but stretch them with

target achievement dates. Goals may be projects, pages/words per day/week, etc. The better the outline, the faster

the writing. Do your homework. Once you have an outline and do the research, write it down. Just write and keep

writing the best draft you can, but don’t worry too much about the flow or the relevance or the logic of it.

These are consolidated on the second or third delivery. Great writers like Philip Yancey take two to three years to

write a book, and they usually rewrite parts over and over again. Choose a space where you can leave your writing

material open, open, and ready. It’s easier to “pick up where you left off” than to try and start over. Choose a time to

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing
Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

write that suits your rhythm, early morning, late night, a bunch of time, whatever fits. John Maxwell often got

up in the middle of the night to write. Works for him. It won’t work for me. Find the right one for you.

For some writers writing is not a sacrifice. For most, there is an exchange. Get to know this and make a choice.

For example, you may have to skip the evening television, etc. Every writer needs a reader, not only when the project

is complete but also his or her writing is being done. Reader comments are only as valuable as your ability to accept

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

criticism. Many academic writers have never developed this ability. They seem to consider every word they write

“sacred.” Not so. You must set aside your ego and seek out beneficial criticism with a sense of inferiority.

This is still your writing, so you don’t have to adopt reader comments, but you’ll always benefit from other people’s

pre-publication reviews. You have to build the same attitude when working with editors. This includes project word

limits. It is possible to say “more” with fewer words. Getting readers may be one of your biggest challenges.

People often say that they will read your material, then not read it, or not read it in a period where you need

(quick) feedback.

Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing
Some Collected Wisdom on Writing and Publishing

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