A few notes on writing

I’m wrapping up the final edits and formatting of my first book and had a few thoughts I wanted to share about the experience. I am painfully aware that I’m not an expert on the subject, but maybe that is okay, maybe the perspective of a struggling novice can be valuable.

  • Writing my first book was a lot like sex. The first time was awkward and kind of terrible and I’m glad it’s over. You can’t aim for perfection, but you can aim for a completion, and completion is pretty damn satisfying. Despite how painful and tiring the first time was, I’m super excited to try again soon with a new subject.
  • Don’t compare your writing to the successful works of famous authors, it is better to look at their early works. Very few people have heard of “The Burning Wheel” by Aldous Huxley, “For Us, The Living” by Robert Heinlen, or “Rocannon’s World” by Ursula K. Le Guin, many authors don’t find success until decades after they start writing, and many early works are absolutely dreadful. Or, better yet, don’t compare your work to anyone
  • I kind of wrote my book in three phases. I started by writing the whole thing as a skeleton, providing structure. Then I edited to add muscle and organs, strength and function. After that, I went in and added skin and hair, making it beautiful.
  • Asking people to read your work and provide feedback is valuable, but not everyone will share your vision or philosophy on writing. It is okay to reject someone’s edits for any reason, even just “that doesn’t feel write to me”. Don’t lose your voice trying to please everyone.
  • Finding a system that worked for me was incredibly important. In the beginning, I gave myself certain writing milestones instead of setting aside time. Later, during the editing process, I switched over to setting aside time.
  • Always have something nearby to record your thoughts. Sometimes moments of clarity and inspiration will come at bizarre times like when you are exercising or standing in line at the DMV or in the middle of the night. An idea only exists if you record it.

So, those are some of my thoughts on the process so far. I still have a ton to learn, which is pretty damn exciting.