by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
As long as it takes. It depends on the book and the author. Is there one right way or standard length of time? No. See the only real trick about writing is finding out what works for you – not what works for somebody else. That is the true secret about writing. It also means one has to write. Small detail, but important.
Recently I met with one of my former Writing War Stories students. He finished his book. Party time and confetti throwing! Doug started writing his book while he was in the waiting area to leave Vietnam. Now, 40 years later, it’s done.
Doug knew it was finished because the manuscript “clicked” and he knew. I’ve told students they will know when it is done, but until one actually experiences the “click,” it is hard to believe. (Being sick of a manuscript does not count, by the way.)
Then of course there are the folks who think the first draft means a book is ready, but that is the time to begin editing. Doug worked hard on his book, had it edited by professionals and went back and did the real “grunt” work to polish the manuscript. Doug is now moving into the business side of writing to decide how he wants to publish his book. I will let you all know when it comes out. It’s an amazing read.
A former coaching client thought his book would be done in six months; four years later it was complete. Getting manuscripts right takes time. Will our books ever be perfect? Nope. But they need to be the best we can make them, or to borrow from the Army, the best books they can be!
In this world of publish anything online and damn the editing, there is a multitude of un-polished and downright stinky work out there; don’t let your book suffer that fate. Easy doesn’t make it done for book manuscripts or basic training. If we give our manuscripts the time, devotion and tough love they deserve, they will rise to the top of the digital publishing pile. Equip them with all the best gear when they go out to meet their readers.
We only get one chance to introduce ourselves and our writing to each new reader; let’s not disappoint our books or ourselves. Write hard!