Sunrise in the Mists

Writing a Book on the Side

Excellent (2010) piece by Michael Lopp on writing a book on the side:

„Writing is a game of inches. No author I know sits down every morning in their home office and steadily produces three pages a day. I’m sure they’re out there, but these annoyingly efficient and profitable authors aren’t doing this on the side.“

So true. When I wrote my two short books, I would sometimes write an entire chapter in one afternoon and sometimes spend an entire day straightening out a single sentence. In general, what really helped me were friendly kicks in the butt by my coach and friend Jonathan. Knowing that I had to explain to him what I had (or hadn’t) done since our last call was more motivating than anything else. So I guess for some of us having a co-conspirator can help if you can’t get going on your own.

The second major thing was place: I wrote both books while being on the road. And while this normally isn’t conducive to getting things done, I made sure I traveled to places where I would find some quietude and inspiration. One of these places turned out to be so wonderful I ended up moving here.1

This made me crack up a little:

As I settle into one of these (writing) mornings, it’s just as likely that I’ll write as it is that I’ll count the number of folks in the room who’ve chosen to drink from ceramic mugs versus paper cups.

The bottomline is that if we’re looking for distractions, we’re going to find them. You can leave your smartphone at home and block all the internet that you want, but if you’re not focussed, you’re not focussed. So to add a third piece of advice from my experience: Make it easy for yourself to get going. I know some people like to stop writing when they know exactly what they’re going to write next. Some even stop mid-sentence. As for me, a short outline or a few notes on the upcoming chapter can work wonders to skip the mug-counting and get into writing mode the next day.

  1. Don’t get me started on the irony of abandoning TFA after this move. We were busy doing other things out there while nobody was watching. Which was (and is) a nice thing to do. []