A Peek Inside the Book Writing Process

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source: Sarah

Although not all bloggers aspire to be published authors, I know many do. As I work on a book project with Tara from Deal Seeking Mom, I thought you might appreciate an inside look at the process, or at least the process from my perspective.

The Back Story

A couple of years ago, I set an arbitrary goal for myself. I wanted to have a book published by the time I was 30. It didn’t take me long to realize that the goal was unrealistic because I simply didn’t have time to pursue it.

However, late last summer, an editor from Berkley Publishing/Penguin Group USA reached out to Tara about a possible book project. They spent some time talking about the project, but in the end, Tara decided it wasn’t really something she wanted to take on right now, and she declined. The editor was persistent, though, and asked what she thought about working with a ghost writer. At that point, Tara brought up the idea of working with me instead. After a phone interview and some time looking through my writing, the editor and publishing house agreed to bring me on as part of the project.

What it boils down to is that they agreed to bring me on as a way to keep Tara, and she’s the one they really want. But you know what? A book is a book.

Lesson 1:

Be ready. You never know when an opportunity might present itself.

Lesson 2:

There’s no place for pride.

The Book

The book itself is a reference guide for the modern family. It blends both Tara and my areas of expertise in an easy to read book that we hope will be really, really useful to each and every person who buys it and not just another book collecting dust on the shelf.

The Process

We reached an agreement with the publisher in mid-November and began research for the book, fine-tuning our outline, bouncing ideas off one another, etc. With the holidays, we didn’t make a ton of progress in December, but I spent that time streamlining my own life: finishing up projects, scaling back my commitments and decluttering my home (again…).

In January, we jumped right into actually writing the book. Tara and I are doing the research together, I’m doing most of the writing, and then we’re tweaking the final draft together.

I’ve discovered a few things about myself over the past couple of weeks:

1. I’m highly distractible. Give me a reason to work on something other than the book, and 9 times out of 10, I’ll take it.

2. I need a buffer time between working and writing so that I can get myself into the right mindset to write. This usually means I work, eat/read and then focus on writing.

3. Maybe surroundings shouldn’t matter, but for me, they do. I need to be comfortable, warm and not at my regular desk (too many distractions).

4. Setting a word count goal is great motivation. The first day I sat down to write, I beat my goal, and it was great motivation to jump right back into it the next day.

5. Chewing gum helps me find my rhythm, figuratively and literally. Whenever I find myself losing focus, I pop in a piece of gum and it helps me get focused and back on track. It’s like cheap therapy!

Where We Go From Here

We still have quite a bit to write, but overall, we’re both feeling very optimistic about how the book is taking shape, and I’m excited about the next 7 weeks. The manuscript is due to the editor by March 7th, and I’ve set a personal goal of turning it in early, just because I’d like to not procrastinate on something for once in my life.

We’ve also scheduled a family vacation for late March because I think we’ll probably need one by then!

The rest of spring and summer will be spent finalizing the copy, layout, etc., and the book is scheduled to be published in January 2012.

And you know what? My 30th birthday is a few months later.

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Is it just an idea or something you’re actually pursuing?

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