by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Perhaps it’s too much Olympic Games viewing, but I decided to take on a monumental challenge this past Sunday. It was time to gut it out and assemble my new tv stand. While I inventoried and laid out all the pieces, found all the accessories and gathered my tools, it occurred to me it’s much like writing a book.
First, everyone thinks there are directions which give all the answers; trust me, in either case they do not exist. Authors can tell you their process, but each writer has to find their way to write a book. Sharing writing tools is what authors do to help new writers, but our tools may not be the right tools for you. Use trial and error to find a writing method which helps you. Be prepared for your process to change over time.
A member of my writer support group learned this step when she realized switching from being a non-fiction author to writing her memoir was a brand new journey. She learned it was a very different process from her business writing methods. She had to learn not only how to write a memoir, but how SHE would write her memoir. Sally is creating her own set of directions to build her book which fits this new genre.
Reading the tv stand assembly directions, it was easy to veer off course. This also happens when writing a book. We authors think we know what our story is about but then two unexpected pieces come together and we go down a new plot path. Works with a book, but not putting together a tv stand.
When all the pieces finally do come together, three hours later for the tv stand – five years for my first non-fiction book, it’s all worth it. Because at the end of a book writing marathon, we are all crafting the stories we need to tell and which exist only in our unique imaginations.
Because while tv stands have pre-cut parts and fairly good directions, when completed we all build the exact same tv stand. (Okay, some people have parts left over. I didn’t. This time.)Writing books is not building cookie-cutter “some assembly required” furniture. We don’t all want to write or read the same book.
Our gold medal goal is to write books which touch our reader’s hearts and make them turn the page to discover what happens next. We can use writing coaches, writer organizations, editors, and attend conferences; but in the end we have to write in order to discover how WE write.
The same way our Olympians have to put in the time, struggle, dedication and practice; in the end it comes down to each of us doing the work. Go for the tv stand AND writing gold!