When I decided to write The Chapters of My Life Series, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into—I had never done anything like this before. I didn’t have any experience or process in place. But as of right now, the third book is with my editor, and two of the books have been self-published both as e-books and paperbacks. While sales have been abysmal, I’m not letting that throw a shadow over the joy I feel about my progress.
The Writing Process
It took me a week to write the first book because I found myself on a condensed timeline, but the other two books took about three weeks each. Had I not been traveling while writing, they might have taken less time, but I can’t say for sure.
The fact I was traveling allowed me to enjoy new environments, adventures, and an easy way to ensure I provided my mind and body with fun, exciting, and rejuvenating breaks.
I’m what is called a pantster in the writing community. Meaning I don’t outline, I write by the “seat of my pants.” I normally begin writing the introduction in my head, and while I don’t outline on paper, I do make a mental list of the topics I want to cover. Once I know my introduction, I start writing. I write until I hit a road block—either I run out of content to write or I don’t know how to express what I want to write. Once I hit a road block, I step away from the computer and go do something else. Since I write while traveling, it’s easy enough to pick something to do.
As I’m out and about exploring, sightseeing, or having a new adventure, I think on and off about what I’m stuck on. I don’t rush it. In due time, what I need to write next comes to me.
I also usually read through from the beginning of the book before I start writing anything new. It allows me to do some editing and best maintain the tempo and voice of the story. Plus, a few times, during my outings, I’ve thought of something I wanted to add to already written parts of the book.
Once the completed draft was finished, I set it aside, and I’ve enjoyed the remaining of my time wherever I happened to be. Upon my return to the United States, I did another read through, and then sent it to a few friends who served as my content editors.
They made recommendations, I implemented the changes, and then sent it to my editor for grammatical and mechanical review/editing. She makes her edits and sends it back to me to make the changes. I make the changes, and send it back to her for a second round of edits. At this point, I make the final changes, and after a final read through, I send it in for formatting.
Writing a 20,000 word book while planning trips, traveling, editing, and publishing another book is quite frankly only possible because I’ve been blogging for about a decade.
My thinking and writing process for my books, I came to realize, is on par to what I’ve been doing for years for my blogging. So while I had never undertaken the task of writing short books, I’ve written 100,000s of words in blog posts.
I’m used to bouncing content in my head and finding ways to weave it together to tell a story. I’m also used to talking to my audience, through my blogging, which I’ve converted over to my books. What I’ve been working on (and need to continue to improve) is the actual story telling. I want to keep improving how I engage, draw in, and entertain my readers with what I have to say—not just in my books, but also on the blog.
It would probably be wise of me to learn how to format my own books, but I’ve found vendors I can count on, on Fiverr.com, so I’ve been using them for each books. You need different formats for each platform you publish in.
Same for the book cover design. I found my designer on Fiverr.com and since I’m currently doing a series, I keep using the same designer.
I’ve been able to write a book and release a book each month, for the last three months. This month I haven’t started writing the fourth book since I’m trying to focus on some marketing, but will be releasing the third book by the end of the month.
I’ll start writing Lead and Follow: My Twenty Years in the Corps in June and release it in July, applying the processes I’ve been using!
Are you thinking of starting a book? Is there anything else you would like to know?