Author Blog Challenge # 13
What has been the most challenging part of your book process: writing, building the book, printing, distributing, marketing, etc.? What do you wish you’d known before you began?
One of the challenges for me when writing The Hidden Risks was to actually complete it – I am renowned for having too many projects on the go at the one time and some tend to fall to the bottom of the queue – or drop right off altogether. Another challenge for me, and I suspect this is often the case in non-fiction, is knowing when to stop with the research and avoid ‘the grass is always greener’ approach, where you think if you just had that one more piece of information, it would be a better story/book. I’ve now learnt it comes back to planning and organisation, with the writer leading the research and not the other way around. Planning ahead and using an outline (see Author Blog Challenge #2) will determine what research is required and how far to take it. Family histories, in particular, have a way of dragging the writer into the past where an emotional connection forms and each person not only screams to be heard, but wants to introduce you to another person or event. It can be exciting and powerful to uncover a hidden past, however, if it isn’t essential to the story and falls well to the left of the initial outline, save it for another project. These would be the things I wish I’d known before beginning this project.
Worth mentioning here is a challenge I faced when writing The Little Mongrel that came about almost by accident – or my naiveté. I had a set timeline for writing this book, needing to complete, publish and launch it before I moved to another state to live. At the same time I was asked to ‘just have a look at a couple of chapters’ for an older lady who was writing her memoirs – by longhand on scraps of paper. This meant I needed to type the notes out and format the manuscript before I could even begin reading. I ended up not only typing, copy editing and proofreading the whole book, but also copy formatting and print preparation, while writing my own at the same time. Running out of time I never gave my book the professional attention it deserved and that is something I have learnt as well – never work on more than one major project at a time, because one will miss out.
~ Merlene Fawdry