You’ve just learned that your life is about to change. You are expecting your first book. Congratulations! ? Do you have any idea what you’ve gotten yourself into?
I’ll clue you in. Worry. Early mornings. Late, late nights. Frustration. Moments of panic. Self doubt. Some moments of amazing clarity. Unimaginable joy. Times of complete dysfunction. Free advice – whether you want it or not. Trying to learn everything you could possibly need to know while still functioning with this symbiotic relationship with something inside you that increasingly takes over the person you used to know. From inside and outside everything changes.
Perhaps you have taken courses to learn how to write. From another writer, a teacher/professor- in person, by reading a book or attending an online seminar. Maybe you are winging it. You liked doing something similar in school and received some positive feedback and now you finally have a chance to prove them all right. Maybe it is your “calling” (yes, those are air quotes). You could be fresh out of university with that degree and the desire to be the next insert your favorite author here. Maybe you just sent your last child off into the world and your chauffeuring days are over. You’ve retired? Wonderful! You’ve been secretly hoarding notes, chapters or essays in drawers around the house, writing when the house is finally quiet at some witching hour at night. You woke up, never having had the notion to write a book, with an entire book laid out in front of you in your head.
Whatever path you took to get here or the situation you are in at the moment, we are now are all connected. We are or want to become authors.
So what do you do now?
Will you set up a specific place where you go when you are going to write? You know, with a desk. Pen and paper. A laptop. A full sized computer? A digital recorder perhaps? A thesaurus, dictionary. Will you be organized?
Maybe you will jot things down on the go. Scribble ideas on napkins or type a quick note on you smart phone. Perhaps even call yourself and leave a message?
Will you have a schedule? I mean you are responsible now for the creation and development of something other than yourself. What responsibility do you accept for its success? Every day from noon till two? Every morning until you’ve written a thousand words? When the wordsmith god or goddess strikes you? Do you nurture it and caress it? Do you keep it on a controlled diet or go with the flow letting your cravings and own needs dictate when and where you feed on this passion of yours to be the best you can be?
Will you tell everyone you are expecting from the moment you know? Will you wait until you have the story decided upon or even completely finished?
Prepare yourself. The one thing I know is that your life will never be the same once you pick up a pen or strike a keyboard to begin your story. It will always be on your mind. It will invade your dreams, waking or sleeping. It will speak to you in the middle of an important meeting or a conversation, causing you to miss the important point or not hear that question. It will call you from a warm bed in the middle of the night. It will tuck you in as it climbs into bed with you. You will laugh, you will cry.
And after all this time with your book, your baby, one day it will be time for it to leave your protection and travel into the world. There will be a certain sense of relief that you made it. But it will be brief and short lived. Your book will now be part of you…FOREVER.
Why? Because writing a book, just like having a baby, is just one step in a much more complicated process of authoring…or parenting. It’s never quite over. It has a beginning but no end. Once you are an author there is no going back to never having been one. And now that it’s out, there are decisions to be made, information to gather, research to be done.
What the heckola do I do now?
Next: Preparing to Publish – “Dr. Spock! I need answers!”