Saturday, July 9, 2011

Time to Get It in Gear

Today, I had my ass chewed because I've been listening but not doing.

I have always had a dream to be writer. At first, I thought I wanted to be a novelist. Novels are sexy. Yet, I read somewhere that 90% of the books submitted for publication are fiction and 90% of the books that are published are non-fiction. I have threatened to write books and articles but I have not done so. I've written a few chapters. I've done some research but produced nothing.

Spirits have dropped quite a few hints over the years that I need to write. I have even had a psychic that didn't know me tell me, "You know you are required to write at least two books right?" She followed with, "You better do it before the gods give you no choice." Today, I got my ass chewed by a spirit. Which one I won't say but I will say it was more than a tad intimidating. I was more startled by this spirit than I have by any other. I think the gods may be getting inpatient.

I have no idea where I will find the time. I have a hot new girlfriend. I am involved in a couple of magickal groups. My grade work is fast approaching the point where study and other activities are required. Yet, I must do something.

Part of my hesitation comes from the fact that I do not feel I am a good writer. Sure, when I make an effort I can turn a neat phrase and write a few paragraphs that have impact but that does not make me skilled. So, step one is learning to write better. To that end, I've hired this guy.

Steve is a local pagan with twenty-five years experience in the news business. He also has the only non-magickal blog that I have linked here. I love his work and more or less agree with what he writes. Steve will be reading some random posts and using them as teaching tools once a month. I will make an effort to incorporate what he teaches me as I write in this space. It is my hope as my writing improves, so will my publication efforts.


Melissa Alexander said...

I've (traditionally) published a nonfiction book, and now I'm working on a novel. From one writer to another: Write about a subject you're passionate about, whether in fiction or nonfiction. The process of writing a book, editing it a gazillion times until it shines, and then going through the long process of publishing is too difficult and tedious to do for any reason except passion. Definitely don't do it for money, because there isn't any.

You also have the choice of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. In most areas of traditional publishing you have to have an established platform before a publisher will publish your nonfiction. How much of a platform will vary according to subject. Since you clearly know your stuff, this blog may well be enough for an occult-related book. The good news is that nonfiction books are sold off a proposal and the first three chapters, unlike fiction, which requires a completed manuscript from first-time authors.

Self-publishing is a different beast, of course. It has no gatekeepers, which means that it's really easy to put out pure crap. But the options are varied, and there are potential upsides, particularly if you write in a sub-niche category and already have an established audience.

Check out the forums at Incredible community of writers there for both fiction and nonfiction. More importantly, there are getting-started posts filled with great info and boards for giving and getting critiques (available only to people who participate and have made a certain number of posts). It's also frequented by agents and editors who are happy to share their knowledge of the publishing industry.

If you do go forward with this, remember that publishing is a business. A very, very, very competitive business. Very few people publish their first attempts. The "common wisdom" is that you have to write a million words before you're ready to publish.

Unless, of course, you self-pub. ;-)

nutty professor said...

I for one, read your blog religiously, and I find it to be refreshingly honest and helpful for my own practice and thought. Do not lose that kind of unselfconsciousness in your search for the "right" writing style. I do not know if I will purchase a book. I would however enjoy reading a memoir or diary of yours in the format of Georges Chevalier.

I don't envy you. My first book nearly killed me and I didn't even have spirits chewing my ass (or maybe I did lol).

Robert said...

Thank you for your comments. I have saved them off so I can find them and reread them when necessary. This is just a first step on the journey. I expect a lot of work ahead. I am hoping to demonstrate that work here first within normal posts. That will be step two.

Stephen H. Provost said...

Thank you for your kind words, Robert. I'm looking forward to working with you on this. I've got an unpublished book in the can myself, but it's taken a back seat to my editing business and blogging activity for now.