Depending on how hard I work this weekend, the rough draft of my first book should be done in 3-5 days. I’ve been writing between zero and 3,648 words each session while writing 1-3 posts to my songwriting blog every day. I’ve also been writing application letters, new songs, project proposals, and articles for clients.
With all of that blurring together, it seems impossible that I’ve written nineteen chapters and outlined twelve. Most of these look alien to me, and when I read them I feel pleasantly surprised that they exist at all.
I also feel thoroughly disoriented, and terrified that I’ve repeated myself or written gibberish. It takes a lot of strength each day not to back down from the project. There’ve been a few things that’ve kept me going:
- a major-label artist sending me encouragement and offering help as a free copy editor.
- Generous people who have sent donations to keep my songwriting site running (they don’t know it unless they’re reading this, but they saved the site from oblivion).
- Links and traffic from one of the music industry’s most powerful A&R people.
- Links and a nice letter from a woman who’s been #1 on the country charts.
Okay, enough about me. Let’s cut the Tozierfest short--here’s what I’ve learned from all this that can benefit you…
- If you’re a writer, write. And write. And write. The more you write, the easier it becomes to write even more. Getting paid gigs helps here—even if you don’t feel ready for them. Nothing motivates you like a deadline.
- Blog. An informal personal blog is a good start. A thoughtful, on-topic blog about one specific thing that interests you is great. Update it daily and you’re doing yourself a huge favor: you’re learning new things constantly by researching and writing that much; you’re creating something attractive to people who share your interest, and you’re honing your writing skills. If you want any help or advice with this, drop me a line. I’ll be happy to share what I know with you.
- Ride it ‘til the wheels fall off. Set up camp well outside of your comfort zone and stay there. In the darker corners of my heart, I still don’t believe I will ever write a book. Yet the whole book is already outlined, and it’s about 70% complete. Push yourself, and don’t let fear throw you off the trail. If you don’t believe you can do it, do it.