How Do I Write a Book?

December 29, 2012 § 4 Comments


817404680Here at Brevity, we adore straight talk, honesty, shrimp and grits, and common sense. One of our favorite writer/teachers Sonya Huber provides most everything on our list in her recent blog posting entitled How to Publish Your Book.  Good, gritty common sense, honest and straightforward.

Here are the questions she is so often asked:

Question 1: How Do I Get My Book Published?

Question 2: How Do I Write a Book?

Question 3: How Do I Write MY Book?

Question 4: Are you asking me how I became a writer?

Question 5: How do I get an agent?

And here are excerpts from a few of her answers.  But read the entire posting, really.

… I’m trying to figure out and express exactly why the question is so agonizing. I think it boils down to my own inadequacy. Here’s my batting average (for real). About 1 hour a day since I was 23, minus the weekends and sick days. So we’ll say 5 days a week, 18 years… that’s 52 x 5 x 18 (at the bare minimum)=4680 hours. If I add in a few half hours here and there and a bunch of manic proofreading and revisioning, it’s close to 8,000 hours pretty easily (not to mention reading time, which should be added in, I suppose). That is a lot of waking time of life. To show for it, I have 3 books. And I can only tell you that I have no idea how to write a book, much less how to publish one.

… If you saw a welder working and said to the welder, “I want to build a battle ship,” what would his response be? He would sigh and say, “Okay. Maybe you should learn to weld first.” The obvious next thing is to say, Just write your book. Or just find an MFA program. And I hate myself for giving that kind of flippant advice.

… I wrote every day for an hour on the subway to and from work in Boston, and then I kept writing and I wrote a bad novel. Then I was hooked into it, and I subscribed to Poets & Writers Magazine, read it diligently, learned about writing and the writing and publishing industry, and sent my work out to many small and large magazines and anthologies. I gradually got published in small magazines and anthologies and got rejected a lot. It took a loooooonnnnnggggg time. it took an astounding amount of patience and still does.

… I wrote so much bad, bad stuff. I still do, and then I sit and revise. That’s the only difference: the amount of time you are willing to put in to revision. If you are brilliant on a first draft, you should not be asking me for advice, because I don’t know what it’s like to live the life of a savant and I would not be the one to guide you. I am what they call a “grind.”

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