By Thonie Hevron
I know I said I’d be back on September 6th but I couldn’t help myself. Sundays are Hal Collier’s days and now that I’m back from a relaxing vacation, I have things to share.
My hubby, Mr. H and I traveled to Oregon, Washington, and Canada over a span of ten days. Most of the driving was done by my cousin’s husband, John. Mr. H sat in front in the man’s shotgun position while my cousin and life-long friend, Sandie, sat in back with me.
Cousin Sandie has raised her kids and is now at a point where she must either write or not. I was in the same position several years ago and remember considering the dark abyss of authorship, so I felt qualified to help when she asked for my guidance.
We sat in the car as Oregon clear-cut, re-grown forests whizzed by. Every now and then, between thoughts, I’d sneak a look at the gorgeous landscape. But my focus was on the beginnings of writing.
Where to start? After listening to Sandie’s ideas for five books, we talked of priorities, which project would be her first. She settled on a non-fiction mentoring story centering on women. Hm. Non-fiction. I have limited experience with it. But I scoured my brain and recalled the first steps for non-fiction work. She’s a plotter so she agreed she should start with an outline. Good, I said. An agent or publisher will want an outline anyway.
Then a manuscript. Write the book. Not so easy as it sounds but Sandie has been writing for Redding, California’s ENJOY magazine for years. She’s used to word counts and deadlines. She’s mulled over this book for years and is comfortable with the content and formatting.
The third thing I suggested was to educate herself. How?
Join a writer’s club, a critique group, take a creative writing class. Read blogs about writing, learn about platform (she has a head start with her magazine articles) but more of that will come later. We talked about blog articles, websites, agents and publishers.
As excited as I was about this conversation, I had to rein in my enthusiasm. I didn’t want to overwhelm this burgeoning author. In answering her questions, I offered her my solutions to the same problems or told her we’d talk about that when it was time.
But for now, she has a plan. It starts with “little bites.” Little bites are easier to chew and digest. Somehow it became less scary.
Yesterday, she began with one of my suggestions: Announce your plan to write “project X”. Your friends and family will hold you accountable without trying. “How’s the book coming?” “Where can I buy your book?” “What’s the name of the book?” All these little conversational questions boost a writer’s inspiration to get the job done.
She’s starting with little bites of accountability.
7 replies on “Little Bites of Accountablility”
Interesting. Your in-the-trenches experience will be invaluable to your cousin, as well as to your readership.
Thanks for the compliment!
Welcome home, Thonie! This blog hit the spot for I’ve spent the last couple of days taking Bites toward a historical novel set here in SoCo….looking at research sources, testing possible concepts for a strong heroine and letting my imagination feed my dreams and fantasies. I’m sure your help was much appreciated by your cousin; hope you’ll keep us up on her progress.
Thanks, Arletta! Indeed I will.
Good advice. Also I hope that you warned her that being an author will not make her rich–the rewards are something much different than for other endeavors.
Yes, Im becoming well-informed with Thonie’s coaching and listening to all the advice as it comes. My blog is up and my journey begun. Whoop, Whoop! I realize the hard work is ahead. It’s time to dig in and do it. I can do “bite-sized pieces.” I’m not a giddy beginner with delusions of grandeur. Too old for that. (My years as a contributor to Enjoy and other periodicals have helped fund my grandchildren’s future higher education. That’s been grand.) It’s just that the big ideas need to hatch so they can take flight. Thanks, Thonie, for gently cracking the shell.
My pleasure, cuz.