Of all the things this pandemic has brought to mind, one that’s surprised me is about writing. For those of you new around here, once upon a time I self-published a book back in 2013.
Recently my manager at work randomly bought and read it and sometimes we talk about it during 1-1 sessions and I swear he knows it better than I do. 😂
But what the pandemic has me thinking about more recently is writing again. Again, mine was self-published and it could have been much better if I’d taken more time on it. When I originally finished I wanted to start a series. I still have that ultimate goal, but I don’t want it to be that one.
Back then I used to take a notepad with me everywhere just in case I had a sudden thought. Now that’s not necessary being home all the time, but maybe I’ll start thinking about it again.
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.
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.
I’m leaving you today. I suppose we both knew this would be the end result. But there are so many things I’ve loved about you. I wanted to let you Know a few of them.
The history. There’s history everywhere. Which means there’s ample opportunity to learn. And that’s my sole aim. To learn as much as I possibly can during my brief time on earth.
The museums. Boston is a city of museums. This of course is right in line with the history. Museums are about educating, and it seems that Boston is doing a wonderful job of educating.
Education. I’m from Houston. There are a number of universities located within the city. At least one is highly ranked among all universities in the country. But Houston simply doesn’t have the university presence Boston does. Which leads me to believe that the city is a hub for obtaining knowledge. Boston University. Northeastern. MIT. Harvard. I mean, wow. And yes, I realize Harvard is actually in Cambridge but SHH.
The diversity. Again, I’m from Houston. A city regularly touted as the most diverse city in the country. And heck, maybe it is. But everywhere I went in Boston I saw it on display. I heard more languages spoken than I can possibly count. In Houston I regularly hear two. English and Spanish. In eight days in Boston I probably heard 10.
But at the end of our brief time together there was certainly some negative. The roads. The roads here are terrible. And what’s with those weird three way intersections with no stop lights or anything? Are you asking for car accidents to happen?
But this isn’t about being negative. We had a spectacular eight day relationship. Maybe we can still be friends?
A Wannabe World Traveler
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?
Look who finally got around to reading his first writing book! *raises hand*
I bought this book last year on a whim. First, Janet Evanovich sells as many books as any mystery author today. I figured her secret might just lie within the pages of this book. Second, it was on clearance at my store and I think I paid $1-$2 for it. Win-win, right? Meh. I guess you’ll just have to watch and find out!
Do you remember the first writing book you read?
This book satisfied the requirement to read a how-to book for my 2017 Reading Challenge.
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.