The first rule of writing a book is don’t write a book. Let me explain, and no this isn’t going to be laced with Fight Club references… apart from that one. This is something that I have told many authors, in my time as a commissioning editor, and the first step on any training on writing that I have led or produced – and mentioned it online on many occasions and platforms. This is the golden rule. What I mean is that you should never start with the mindset that you are writing a book.
More unpacking is required. Yes, you have an idea, you believe you can write and you would therefore, like to get a book published and on the shelves of whatever route to market you choose. Great. But that is a big, big burden to carry when you open the word processor or notebook and begin to put down the first words. At some point, this big burden will weigh you down. It is too big for your
Think first draft/arrangement
If you want to write a book, don’t write a book. Just write, or if you want something to aim at, think a first draft. Getting the first draft done is a big enough task for the most accomplished authors. And here I look at myself with several unfinished first drafts gathering dust. As much as possible keep further thoughts of ‘book’ in another drawer or box.
Why am I saying this yet again? Well, dear reader, it is a case of physician why can’t thy heal thyself. I know this golden rule and yet I find it so hard to keep focused on the task at hand. I struggle to keep my mind on the first draft, not just on fiction projects but also here, on this blog. And – and this is the one currently ailing my soul – when making my music.
It’s infecting the art
With music the end product, or big burden, for me is the album. I find myself thinking all things album related: running order, cover, distribution, special edition, remixes… before I know it these things have taken over and infected the song, or music, the creation, my art. These big ideas begin to shape the sound, but not in a good way. They constrict, infect, mutate, and ultimately they destroy the creativity, the joy and the release found in making the art/music in the first place.
There is nothing wrong with me wanting to release a collection of songs, but the songs need to be created in the first place. There is nothing wrong with you wanting to write a book, but the words need to be drafted before anything else can effectively be done. Yes, there are exceptions, and if you have an effective network of support staff around you the burden can be shared.
So, feel free to join me, in writing that first draft or arranging that piece of music and before you know it, you might just have that book or album.
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