Monday, April 4, 2011

The rewards of writing.

The real rewards of writing are in the act of writing itself and in the lives that you affect with your work. 

Selling books is not the motivating factor for me.  For me, editing is very fun.  Sometimes I will get an inspiration from the works of other writers. I will then go back and try to improve a phrase or sentence, or using my imagination to create a more descriptive metaphor.  I have spent hours looking for individual words that convey exactly what I want to say.  Sometimes I will spend a whole writing session researching data to formulate what I think is a one perfect paragraph.

Most of all, the feedback that I have received from people whose lives I have touched with my writing is what makes it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"How-to-write" books

Lacking an education or background in writing, I relied heavily on my local library to assist in my efforts.  I found many books on how to write non-fiction - some good, some not so useful. I discovered there is no silver bullet - no single book that says it all.  Search for a "how-to" book that strikes a chord with you -one that is relevant to your work.

I also found it extremely helpful to go back and read a second round of "how-to-write-non-fiction" books once I was well into my project.  The information sunk in much more easily and made more sense.  I was able to edit my work with a whole new set of professional tools.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

just get started

I started writing on the first day of a big storm.  Seattle does not handle snow removal well, so I knew I would be confined to the house for several days.  I had made a vow to myself that someday I was going to write a book about my parents - now I had no excuses.

Some of you may not be as lucky as I.  I had time on my hands and nothing better to do.  The point is; to get started writing, you just have to start writing!  You can start with an outline, you can start by creating a table of contents, you can write a synopsis, or in my case, I just sat down to the computer and let the stories flow.

My first post

I will not mention the name of the motion picture but it starred one of the biggest male actors of our generation. It was a story about the relationship between an abusive father and his son. I could not stop thinking about this movie, how simple and uninteresting it was. I kept wondering; how could this film, with such an unremarkable theme and ordinary set of events, become a big Hollywood hit? How could the script attract the attention of an actor who literally can take or leave any role put in front of him? My own father’s life account was much more intriguing than this story!

This notion kept playing through my mind. Eventually I came to the daunting realization that I needed to write a book about my father’s life. I never enjoyed writing, not in elementary school nor high school, and especially not in college, but I felt compelled to scribe my father’s memoirs, even at the risk of setting the art of journalism back a few years.

The above is an excerpt from the Foreword of my first book, The Teacher and the Tough Guy.  It provides some background on why I took on the intimidating task of writing a book, especially when writing had not been an avocation of mine.  However, the experience of writing my book was so joyful and so rewarding, that it has become my passion and I am now in the midst of writing two other books.

I started this blog to share my writing experience in hopes of encouraging others who may be tackling their first book, or are aspiring to write a book and just need a kick-start.