I wrote recently about how some of my coworkers found out about my book. Over these last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about it too.
I’m going to reread it again. I’m not sure, but this will likely be my sixth or seventh time reading it. I’ve never read any other book more than twice, and even those are rare.
But you might be wondering why I’m rereading it. I’m thinking about what I want to write next. Really thinking about it. I don’t have 8 million notes on my computer with ideas or plotlines or anything. Just an idea. But it has to start somewhere, right?
I’ve been at my current employer for almost exactly 2 years. I’m not really open with people at work. Last year one person knew everything that I was dealing with. Now it’s 3. Still not very many. And I don’t expect that number to grow. I think it’s actually shrinking. And that’s okay.
But last week I said something about writing a book. And today it seemed to snowball into this big thing.
I don’t tell anyone about it. Don’t ask me why. I don’t have an answer. It was a long time ago. And maybe one day I’ll write something new. But I don’t think I’d ever continue what I started. I’d start anew.
I want to create. To hold something in my hands that no one else had a hand in. I remember the first time I held my book in my hands. I cried. I want that again. But it’s been nearly 6 years. The time still isn’t right. And maybe it never will be. And that’s also okay.
And please don’t tell me that I should try writing everyday or something similar. I’m focused on my reading, work, and travel. That’s it.
Fun fact: most of you are recent here. When I started this blog it was called Write me a Book, John!. That was an amazing blog name. And I did. But things are different now.
I came across something on Twitter recently. A prominent author said that if you are going to tweet something negative about an author’s work, do not @ them. I thought this was a bit silly, but I know for any celebrity any thread can turn into absurdity really fast, and ultimately have nothing to do with the work. So, okay.
But then the author referenced negative reviews in general. She said negative reviews should never be written unless the work is causing real harm. And many prominent authors and critics were in agreement.
I find this troubling. We criticize the work of politicians. We criticize the work of artists. We criticize the work of athletes. We criticize the work of everyday people we work with. As humans we criticize EVERYTHING. Is the criticism always fair? No. But how does it make sense to say negative book reviews should never be written?
I understand if she’s saying as a prominent author, she won’t write something negative about another book because of her status in the publishing world. But I vehemently disagree with the notion that no one should write negative book reviews.
There are people who have very little disposable income who love books. And I know many of them use reviews to determine what to spend their money on. If we live in a world full of 5 star reviews, then there’s no point in writing reviews at all.
I still have my booktube channel, though I haven’t posted in a really long time, and I’ve been completely honest when discussing books I’ve enjoyed and books I’ve hated. Why in the world would an author encourage anything different?
I don’t understand the logic and I will continue to be honest about what I read.
How many times have you read online that “everyone has at least one book in them”? Honestly. Probably more times than you dare to admit. I know it’s plastered all over writing blogs like no tomorrow. I just stumbled across an article on Quartz that says precisely the opposite. Finally.
Only in the digital age would this be a reality. Can you imagine Hemingway telling some random guy in the street that everyone has at least one book in them? Or Jane Austen? Bradbury? Agatha Christie? I can’t. Because it’s ridiculous.
What’s worse is this mindset is embraced by so many people who really have no reason to write a book. Not talking about quality here, I’m talking about people who have never had an interest in writing until discovering this notion online that everyone with Microsoft Word should be writing a book.
I wrote one. But it had nothing to do with anyone besides myself and my reading. I had no idea this was something people blog about when I first started my writing. Four years later and writing another book couldn’t be further from my mind. My entire focus is on my career. My actual career. I’m fortunate to work for a company with nearly endless opportunity. I plan on taking full advantage of it.
And his name is JOHN CENA!
I’m dead. I saw the opportunity to use that phrase and couldn’t resist. 😂
But the real author’s name is James Zerndt. Never heard of him? Neither have I. He’s from Portland. And two lucky readers have found $100 in a couple copies of his books in the area. They come with a note that reads:
This book is free. If you need the money, please keep it. If you don’t, please give it to someone who does. You are not a leftover. None of us are!
It turns out the author’s five-year-old son is behind the whole thing. The note is signed by a character in the book. So it wasn’t too difficult to figure out who was behind the mysterious money.
I think this is awesome. So many authors today are inaccessible. No tours. No tweeting @ readers. No signed books. A whole lot of nothing. They’re content with writing. And who am I to say there’s anything wrong with that? This author is reaching out to readers in a unique manner I think other authors should take note of. No one says money needs to be involved or books signed, but readers are the ones who keep the whole publishing mechanism afloat. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that authors do something out of the ordinary once in awhile to show some readers how appreciated they are. But that’s only my opinion.
What do you think authors should do to reach readers on a more personal level?
How many times have you told yourself you don’t have time to read? Be honest.
I know I’ve made that excuse way more than I’d like to admit. And guess what? It’s just an excuse. President Obama was interviewed last week by the top book critic of the NYT on what books mean to him. And he revealed that during his eight years as President he always found it important to get as much reading in as he could. If the President of the United States has time to read, then shouldn’t we all be able to find a few minutes here and there to get some reading done? I say yes.
I think it helps that President Obama was a published author before taking office. Naturally one would expect him to be literary-minded. But still, no one can argue against the fact that every President is under immense pressure and has to deal with more than most people can fathom. If he can find time to read, so can you.
Read the full interview here.
Funny thing has happened twice recently. People have asked me what I’m writing. No one asks me this. First, because no one really cares. Second, because it’s just not something I talk about with anyone. The answer has been nothing for some time now.
But I just recently told y’all I’ve thought of a new idea, which I have. It’s still just a basic premise. 2017 has a long way to go. I’m confident I’ll finally be able to tell those few curious people that I’m working on book 2. And knowing that is a rather nice feeling.
The other day I wrote a post about perhaps not finishing a book I’d started. Multiple people told me about what they do when they don’t finish reading books they start.
One person said if she makes it to page 200 and still doesn’t like it, then she won’t force herself to continue. Which is fine, no one says you have to finish every book you start. But she proceeded to say that her reasoning behind writing a review for the book she didn’t finish and also including it in her list of read titles is because 200 pages equals 50k words, what she called the “rule of thumb for the length of a novel”.
Before the advent of NaNoWriMo no one would actually believe 50k words is the magic number in which your words and chapters become a novel. And just because people say it doesn’t make it so.
There’s a site I once discovered (I can’t remember it now) that would tell you the word counts of books. I played around with it for a bit and found just about every title I entered was well over 100k words. What if your favorite authors actually believed this. “Oh, I hit 50k words. ALL DONE!” It’s laughable that people believe this nonsense.
I just read an article on Writer’s Digest about word counts and the author of the article identified a good word count range for lower Middle Grade as 20k-55k words, but said anything written for a 12-year-old or older should be higher. Every other genre should have significantly higher word counts, in his opinion. Some well over 100k words.
Do you think 50k words is the “rule of thumb for the length of a novel”? I definitely do not. And have never heard an author or publishing professional identify it as such. But what do I know, right?
Could it be? Have I finally thought of a new book idea? Yes.
A little back story here. I self-published my book more than three years ago. I didn’t come out of college with the goal of securing a good job or traveling the world, I came out with the single goal of writing a book. Some of you will recall the original name of this blog as Write me a Book, John!.
After I published my book I immediately began work on book 2. Cause I’m obviously a prolific author. I soon realized the second time around was different. The drive simply wasn’t there and the story itself wasn’t clicking. I made it about 30,000 words into that first draft of my second book when I abandoned it. My memory tells me I wrote myself into a corner I couldn’t get out of.
Early yesterday morning I came up with a new idea. And who knows, maybe I’ll get started on it sometime soon.
There are plenty of writers out there better than me. Better stories. Better ideas. Better writing backgrounds. Which means I have plenty of room for improvement. Leggo.
What do you do when you’re discouraged with your writing? I did nothing and it’s cost me nearly four years.
Once upon a time I was a writer. During high school. During college. Immediately after graduation. Writing was a constant for several years, though I have no idea where the enjoyment came from. Things just happen sometimes.
And sometimes they just don’t. I haven’t written anything of substance in almost three years. But something changes in your mindset and perspective after you read your own work, which I did this month. It takes you back to the hours spent staring at your computer screen just thinking. Thinking of what’s supposed to come next in the story, and thinking of where it’s headed.
I was also taken back to how excited I was to be writing a REAL BOOK. I don’t currently have any ideas swirling around inside my head, but I think I’m the slightest bit closer to getting back into my writing than I have been in some time. Encouragement and nice people don’t mean anything at this point because it falls on my shoulders and no one else’s. Either I’ll do it or I won’t, and nothing any person says is going to change that.