Lauren is joining us this week to talk about the commitment required to see a book through from conception to publication. We are also excited to share with you the trailer for her latest Mac Faraday mystery, Open Season for Murder, due out June 1. Don't forget to check it out at the bottom of the post!
“I Take Thee …”
Making That Commitment to Your Book
By Lauren Carr
“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 fourteenth mystery, Open Season for Murder will be released June 1. Book fifteen, Kill and Run, the first installment of my new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries, will be released September 1.
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.
About the Author
|Lauren & Gnarly|
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries. Her upcoming new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries will be released Spring/Summer 2015.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.
Lauren 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.
She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
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