In which Lisa Tener & I attempt to answer some of your many, many questions about writing a book… : )
Judith asks: “I have many book ideas. I have books (nonfiction, poetry and fairy tales) started and waiting to be finished. What will help me know which direction to go and then stay focused?”
First of all, Judith – congratulations on your productivity!
I have two answers for you:
1) Do a DEEP gut check – a guided meditation, a long prayer session, go for a run or a swim or a long rambling walk – whatever works for you to really tune in to your highest self – and see which project really sings out to you. After all, you can make a case for any of them, right? And you love them all? So see which one has the most shimmering light on it and go with that one.
2) Use the same method some people use to pay off their credit cards: either pick the one that’s closest to being done and finish that one, or pick the one with the highest interest rate (best return on investment) and finish that one.
Good luck! – Sam.
Liza asks: I have a question: How do you copyright written work? Specifically, for a blog? Thank you!
Written work is automatically copyrighted. You can also put copyright at the bottom of your blog (with the year) for clarity. I do that on my website. There is an official place to register copyright (http://www.copyright.gov/) (there is a …fee), but you can also mail the document in a sealed envelope and have usps stamp the sealed part with the date. And don’t open it when you receive it back in the mail. It makes it admissible evidence in court is what I have heard from several experts).
U.S. Copyright Office
Stefan had two questions, and we had several variations from others on both these questions:
1. What if we feel it won’t be any good?
2. How do we know it hasn’t been written before? (i.e. original idea)
1. First, my experience with clients (many of whom do not think of themselves as writers) has shown me that, almost all the time, if you have a prompting to write something, that’s coming from your inner wisdom, your source, and there’s a reason for it. Unlikely that your source wants you to write a piece of junk, right?
Now, it may come out sounding like junk the very first time you start writing, especially if you’ve never written a book before or don’t think you’re a good writer. So, you may want to get some help in getting started and hire a writing coach or editor to help you write the best book you can. A good coach or editor will teach you to edit your own work.
There are just a few rules that can take your writing from ho-hum to hot-diggity-dog and you can learn them fairly quickly. And then it just takes discipline to keep applying them when you revise your work.
So, trust your “muse” and also get professional support and you can make sure it truly is good.
2. Do some research in bookstores or online and see what’s out there. Publishers and agents actually like to see that there are other books out there on your subject, so they know there’s a market for it.
Ask yourself what you have to offer that’s different from what’s out there. Perhaps it’s a deeper look at the same topic, a new angle on the topic, or just your voice and your stories that make it different. Maybe it’s the specific niche you’re writing for. Or the experiential exercises (or other feature) that you’ll provide in the book.
No one has written “your” book in “your voice” before. So, do your research, but also go inwards and ask your muse, your creative self, what will make my book unique? And why will people need it and buy it? – Lisa Tener