“Congratulations on your book.”
People are impressed with anyone who has completed the task of writing a whole book. There are thousands, if not millions, of people who have sat down to a keyboard to start writing a book but never finished it.
After all these years of working at it, I have to pinch myself with the fact that my fifteenth mystery, Kill and Run, the first installment of my new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released on September 4.
My goal is to release five books this year. Struggling writers who are unable to complete even one book, often ask, “How is that possible?” As a matter of fact, I was recently asked to conduct a workshop entitled, “Writing that Bucket List Novel” to answer that question. Most writers assume that I am able to do this simply because I do write full time. I treat my writing like a job.
“Me,” they say, “I have a full time job and family to interrupt me. No way can I write a full book in less than a year.”
Believe it or not, I completely understand. I was there. But contrary to the dream of being able to sit at a desk, uninterrupted, left alone to create literary masterpieces at my leisure—this is not—
Hold that thought. My husband just came running into the room because his computer screen looks different and he got scared.
Where was I?
Unless you are totally committed to not just working on—but completing—your book, all the freedom from working for a living, family obligations, finding wallets and remotes, feeding dogs, running sweepers, finding your son’s athletic clothes, cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, flying in to the school because your son forgot his essay which is due today and he’s going to flunk out of calculus and end up living in your attic for the rest of his life if you don’t stop writing the gun fight scene right now to get it there in ten minutes—
In a nutshell—it takes total commitment!
A young writer who attended one of my workshops told me that he had quit his job. He had a full time job with the federal government and was making good money. Young, unmarried, and living at home with his parents, he saved up enough money to support himself for a full year. Then, he quit his job to finish his book.
A year later, he had a half dozen uncompleted manuscripts. He spent much of that time doing favors and running errands for friends and family who said, “Since you’re not doing anything …”
Believe it or not, this is a perception that many people make. Even after all these years, my family assumes since I wear my grungy bathrobe all day and sit around with a laptop in my lap that I’m not doing anything.
Yes, I am doing something!
If you don’t consider your book important, no one else will. When you make a commitment to something, you make it a priority. If you have a full time job and your buddy calls you to help him move a sofa, would you leave your job to go do it? No, because if you leave your job it may not be there when you get back. Same with your book. If you keep leaving it to go do other stuff, then you won’t ever finish it.
This means you have to put your writing ahead of Keeping Up With the Kardashian.
Now, let’s address the half dozen unfinished manuscripts.
This is what I call the Forty-Page Block. It’s not always page forty. Sometimes it’s page twenty-five or page one hundred and twenty-five. Whichever page number it is, at some point there’s a block that separates the authors from the wannabes.
At this hurdle, many writers will simply throw in the towel and walk away without looking back.
Others will try to get around the block in this book by starting a second book. Inspired by ideas from Book One, Book Two may even be a sequel to its unfinished predecessor. Then, the writer will be hit with another inspiration too good to ignore and abandon that project to start another and then another.
The Forty-Page Block stems from loss of interest in the project. Maybe the writer has a short attention span. Maybe the project isn’t worth the paperless word doc it’s written on. Whatever the reason, when the book ceases to be new and fresh, the writer doesn’t want to work on it anymore.
This is the dividing line between those writers who want to be authors and authors who have published books under their belts. Published authors will stick to a book through thick and thin. Even when he’d rather watch the game with the guys, he’ll go to that laptop and churn out five or six pages.
When he finds himself staring at the same Word doc that he’s been looking at for the last seven weeks and sees that it’s not looking very pretty, the author doesn’t walk away. He’ll work even harder to rekindle that flame of passion. He’ll stick with it, no matter what it takes – even if it means a complete rewrite.
Walking away or running off with another book is no option for the true author. Yes, new book ideas may be more fun, and easier to work on, but those flings will only be distractions in reaching the goal of seeing this relationship to the end — that being publication.
So, if you’re a writer seeking to become the author of that one finished manuscript, I call on you now to take the plunge and make that commitment by putting your right hand on your keyboard and repeating after me:
I, state your name or pen name , take thee book title to be my published book. To compose and obsess, for rewrite and edit, in polishing and proofreading, from this day forward, until publication do we part.
You two make a beautiful couple.
CALLING ALL WRITERS:
Press Release: International Best Selling Author Hosts Writers Retreat in Deep Creek Lake
Are you a writer struggling to complete your masterpiece? Or have you completed a draft but need some quiet time away from the rest of the world to concentrate on getting it ready for publication.
International Best Selling Mystery Writer Lauren Carr has been there and done that.
“It took me six months to write the first draft for A Small Case of Murder,” she recalls. It took more than that for her second mystery. “Then, one weekend,” she says, “a friend dragged me to a writers’ conference that ended up being a total bust. After the first day of not getting anything out of it, I locked myself in the hotel room and wrote for the rest of the weekend. By the time I left three days later, I had written one third of the first draft of It’s Murder, My Son.” This book went on to being her first best-selling mystery novel.
Regularly listed among Amazon’s top-100 authors in mysteries, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries and the Lovers in Crime Mysteries. This month, the debut novel for her new mystery series, the Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released to top sales and rave reviews. Since its release on September 4, Kill and Run has been listed in the top-ten of three categories on Amazon both domestically and in the international markets.
The author of fifteen books, Lauren Carr is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
It takes more than simply getting away for it all to write books, Lauren warns. “Spending time with other writers, bouncing ideas off each other, having someone to ask advice when you’re stuck—when you have all that—then you have the total package that can inspire and motivate you to complete your book.”
Such is the package that Lauren Carr, in conjunction with Lakewood Resorts on the shores of Deep Creek Lake, is assembling for the Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers’ Retreat! “Not only will writers who attend this writers’ retreat have quiet and beautiful scenery in which to write,” Lauren explains, “but they will be surrounded by other writers in order to share ideas and have someone who has been there available to encourage them and lead the way.”
A variety of packages are available. Writers can sign up for a single unit to write in complete solitude or share a unit with their spouse or writing buddies. Each lakeshore unit at the luxurious Lakewood Resorts can accommodate four or more writers—making this an ideal retreat for writers groups.
Offerings include choice of a variety packages. Many offer focused writing time, weekend workshops, private consultations with Lauren Carr, writers’ gatherings, and meal options. Retreat prices vary with level of participation. Lodging costs are per unit, and units can be shared with family or other writers. In addition to lodging, all participants pay the per person rate for the chosen retreat package.
The dates for the Lauren Carr’s Advanced toward Authorship Writer’s Retreat will be Friday, November 13-20, 2015. Weekend packages (Friday through Sunday) will be available. It will be held at Lakewood Resort, McHenry, Maryland—Deep Creek Lake, the setting for Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday Mysteries! Visit Lakewood Resort’s website at http://www.lakewoodresortsmd.com/ for more information.
Space at Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat is limited. Writers are encouraged to visit Lauren Carr’s website at www.mysterylady.net or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.