The worst part of writing a book

I really like writ­ing books but there’s one part I hate. And it sneaks up on me every time.

After hav­ing sev­er­al books pub­lished, you’d think I’d learn. But nope, there seems to be a big blank spot in my memory about writ­ing a non­fic­tion book.

It’s an ugly, nasty, teeth-gnash­ing phase so no won­der I for­get it. In fact, the only time I think about it, is when I’m right in the middle of it. Which is where I am right now.

I refer to it as the @#$*! stage of writ­ing a book. Some folks call it the first draft.

No, this isn’t me. But this is how I often feel when I’m in the @#&%! stage of writ­ing a book.

This is where I have to take all my research and put it into some sort of cohes­ive order. That means decid­ing what goes in what chapter – and worst of all – decid­ing what’s included and what gets left out.

I know from past exper­i­ence that intriguing facts and fas­cin­at­ing anec­dotes will be cut due to the con­straints of space and in the interests of flow. I can deal with that. It’s just all the decisions I need to make right now. Hours are spent star­ing at the com­puter screen, shift­ing text here and there and mut­ter­ing away. By the end of the day I swear my brain is sweat­ing.

Sometimes I think of this stage of a book like going for a long walk in a forest. There are many trails to take, each offer­ing dif­fer­ent exper­i­ences, some more excit­ing or chal­len­ging than oth­ers.

On rough days I liken it to climb­ing a rock face. Concentrating and know­ing where to put my feet and hands (or facts and anec­dotes) is crit­ic­al. At times the top of the moun­tain seems impossibly far away.

Once in a while I won­der why the heck I’m doing this. But a glance down tells me I’m closer to the top than the bot­tom. And I know when I reach the sum­mit, I’ll for­get all about the @#$*! stage of writ­ing a book again.

So I keep climb­ing. Writing my book one chapter, one para­graph, one word at a time.



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