Knowing How To Work

There is a lot of proof that I was a geeky kid, but teaching myself to type on the electronic typewriter my Mom brought home from work really ranks up there. And with this electronic typewriter I tried to live the dream of becoming a novelist by starting a variety of novels. But I never finished any of them, which was fine. I was a kid, for goodness sake.

But as I work on writing the first draft of my first complete book -- I don't have the luxury. I can do that, but then, what's the point of talking around the houses about how much I want to write a book? At some point you just have to bite the bullet and give it a go. 

And I'm glad I at least know how to work these days. After years of toiling away my various jobs, writing draft after draft of everything from articles to research reports to press releases and even emails, my ego is smaller than it used to be and I understand that things rarely -- O.K. almost never -- work the first time around.

I have started my book four times now, using different formats: novel, memoir, roman a clef and a book of essays. Which one I'll settle on is becoming clearer to me (although I'm still afraid to commit publicly yet.) I've ripped up huge amounts of text when I realized it wasn't working. So in total, I've written almost 50,000 words, although only about 17,000 of that appears usable at the moment. I am comforted by the fact that every word and sentence I write seems to teach me something about the long form format -- something I've never really had experience with before.

My Dad recently said to me that one of his goals is "lifelong learning" and that really resonated with me. As horrific as it is to read back something you've written and be able to see how bad it is, it's also a great learning experience to figure out why and then try to fix it.

This is how to work. Something I didn't understand at 10, when I started my career at as a novelist. I hope with everything I know now, perhaps I'll make a bit more progress.

(As a side note: I've also recently been spending time reading up on the world of self-publishing, which has moved on quite a lot from vanity publishing. The pace of technological change has meant that selling and marketing your book(s) is much easier -- although not easy -- now, without the help of a traditional publisher. It's fascinating. If you're interested, check out Joanna Penn's website -- she has a great free ebook on the topic.)


  1. Let me know when it is done and where to buy a copy. Good luck!


    1. Shab! Thanks for reading - always appreciated. Of course I will let you know when it is done and how to buy a copy. That will be the first and easiest bit of marketing I will do :) Thanks for your support!


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