February 6, 2023
One week into full time writing and the writing job is already very different. There is much to do in the coming weeks:
This first week I busied myself with two key tasks:
The online program, run by Ty Cohen and the Writers Life team, was a basic and free overview of how to approach writing for Amazon Kindle. It was highly informative, and I have several take-aways from it that I will pursue later in the year as I amass material. While it focused on several essential matters, including:
I also learned surprising aspects of the Amazon writing industry:
The online program has given me a great deal of food for thought as I move forward.
The editing process reminded me how much writing is not what most people imagine. I have many colleagues and friends who tell me ‘I want to write a book’ and they have good material to write, but I suspect they see the iceberg tip of the process, which is the sitting and writing component. That part is, by far, the easiest part. It’s creative. It does require discipline – making actual focussed time to write – and the time aspect is a key reason why most people don’t write their books. But writing is not just writing. There is editing. And lots of it. And it is the part that requires significant discipline because it can be tedious. Really tedious.
The Last Wizard project is on its third edit. That means I have read the three new books in the series, in detail, three times, AFTER writing them. The writing process, at least for me, is already an editing process: choosing right words, sentence construction and variety, remembering emerging or planned facts and events, restructuring plot, punctuation. I estimated a long time ago that, with the advent of computers, most of my writing in first draft has already been significantly edited in the draft writing process because of the magic of word-processing and the ease of making changes, and that my first drafts are edited at least the equivalent of three or four times before I sit and begin a formal first edit.
Editing of your own work requires major discipline primarily because:
Editors are specialists in their field, and I admire their tenacity, honesty and possibly autistic skills. I pretend to have some of their abilities, being a highly experienced English teacher, and so editing for me is a challenge and a chore. It is a core part of writing. It not the romanticised part of writing. It is the part that requires iron discipline and, frankly, even your own creative work can quickly become boring when your focus is on the grammatical conventions, the placement of punctuation and the correct meaning of words in context.
Today, I move into editing the fourth book. I have coffee, cake and time to go for walks to help. It isn’t boring, but it is necessary. And I know I won’t find every possible or actual mistake. That’s why a professional does the final proofing when books go to print. And even they make mistakes.
P.S. If you’ve been actively editing this post and wincing at every sentence beginning with a conjunction, I am grinning with evil intent.
Writing is my passion. Ideas, opinions, beliefs, experiences expressed through language - through words and images - pervade and create my life. Writing is my voice, my soul, my self. My dream is one day writing will sustain my life...