“I’m also one of those people you see in the checkout line grabbing additional items such as nail clippers and candy bars before leaving.”

I’ve been asked by several people, okay, make that one friend and my brother, if I have any tips on writing a book. That question was best left to a professional writer, yet I tried answering things in layman’s terms, which is the politically correct definition for someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

I just finished my fifth book, with this friend telling me that if I keep writing them, maybe I’ll eventually get one right. He said that in jest although there’s much truth to it.

Everyone’s writing style is unique and mine’s no different. I equate it to a car having bald tires trying to get across a muddy field. This vehicle spins and twists its way through the mud, eventually, after much effort, arriving at the other side. The key here is never get stuck which is akin to giving up. I believe this holds true for all writers, professionals and amateurs alike.

Where writing a book is concerned, a person first has to ask themself, “Why do I want to write it?”

I suppose there are many answers to this, with a couple of them being: I’d like to sell a lot of books and make gobs of money, or, I have something of relevance to share with others regardless of the monetary payback. My reasoning fits within the latter explanation.

Time is the biggest factor in putting a book together and people have to be willing to give up a big portion of it. I find there are more fun things to do besides sitting behind a computer, but also realize that whatever I’m needing to compose will never get accomplished down at the lake, which is where I’m headed right now.

Having someone look over your composition is a must. I’ve went through several of these people, now former friends, throughout the past few years. I learned a bit too late that you can’t expect them to do something for nothing. If it’s a book you’re having folks look at, make sure to at least give your volunteer a free copy, plus lunch or dinner.

On magazine, newspaper, and smaller articles, a simple lunch is most appropriate for having them review the work, although fast food might not cut it for some. I still owe one proofreader several tokens of appreciation at the golden arches, namely my wife.

Don’t fret over typos, misspelled words, sentence structure errors, misuse of abbreviation, or anything of the like at the start of your book. That stuff can all be corrected once the manuscript is complete. If I tried writing “letter perfect” from beginning to end I’d never finish. This initial composition is called the rough draft by some while I refer to it as an outline.

Where lengthy manuscripts are concerned, never edit your own work. I learned that early on as well. Countless hours were spent doing so, only to send it to a professional editor and have them find mistake after mistake, ones that I’d repeatedly overlooked.

For a first book, I suggest using a vanity publishing outfit over that of total self-publication. These firms have inhouse editing employees along with graphic arts professionals for designing the cover. There are many writers that will disagree with me here, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree, or something to that effect.

There are a good number of reputable publishing houses to choose from, but check their reviews first before submitting your manuscript. I’ve used three so far and all were excellent. My reasoning for using Palmetto Publishing this last go-round is only because their company logo is a palm tree which gives it a Havasu feel. Shooting from the hip like that is how I make important decisions. For whatever it’s worth, I’m also one of those people you see in the checkout line grabbing additional items such as nail clippers and candy bars before leaving.

My last two pieces of advice are highly important. Number one: If I can write a book, anyone can. Being a mechanic by trade, and not a very good one at that should tell you something. Just take the time and do it as Nike would say.

Number two: Once your book is finished some people will request a signed copy. Before doing so, practice writing your name on a sheet of paper, cursive style, several times before signing the author page. Trying to use arthritic fingers, my handwriting now resembles a caveman’s or doctor’s. Currently having no books to sign, I’ll work on number two a bit longer myself, that is, once I return from the lake.

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

2 thoughts on “WRITER’S CRAMP”

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