Writer Shop Talk: Letting Your Book Drafts Percolate

newshoptalkA while ago, I decided that my creative and professional plans for 2015 would include launching a STUPID amount of quality books this year. Things are off to a great start, with Write Short Kindle Books becoming a #1 Kindle Bestseller in multiple categories and selling over 1,345 copies during launch month. As I continue to work on the final draft of several other books and outline upcoming projects, I decided to dig up a few old un-launched book projects that I had put on the shelf. Sometimes, if you’re me at least, you write books, set them aside, and then FORGET that you’ve written them. Whoops.

But a little time away from your drafts can be just the thing you need to realize that what you wrote actually isn’t utter garbage.

Like good coffee, some books require a little extra time to soak in their juices before they get super tasty.

I’ve found that I’ll get ideas for books, and even start writing them, but it’s not quite the right time to button them up and put them out into the world. Other times I’ll write something, feel pretty good about it for a few days, re-read it, then decide it’s utter shit and dump it into a folder on my hard drive.

Weeks, and even months, later, I’ll dig it up again, re-read it, tinker with it a bit, then repeat the process. “Argh. What shit. Back to The Folder for you, shitty shit draft.”

I’ll do this a few times, before ultimately forgetting about a final or near final book draft for months on end. It turns out, that’s sometimes the best thing you can possibly do with a book project!

I initially did this with Write Short Kindle Books. It’s one of several books I wrote last summer, and I set it aside numerous times after completing the first draft. Every time I dove back in, I improved it a bit more, but I still wasn’t 100 percent on the project. So I’d set it aside. It sat for about five months until I eventually decided the time was right, dove back into to give it a heavy-duty coat of spit-shining, and then prepped it for launch in January.

It turned out to be one of my most successful book projects to date.

Aside from the half dozen book projects I’m currently in various stages of completing, outlining, and planning, I’ve already got 2-3 more near finished books I’ve been sitting on that I also wrote last year.

Interesting aside: if I had launched all three of those book projects back after I first finished them, I think things would have been a mess. The timing was off. But 6-8 months later? I’m in a perfect position right now to roll full-steam ahead, and a lot of things are all clicking into place. I didn’t know how or where some of these book projects would fit into the slightly tangled, crazy puzzle that is my professional writing career.

But I’ve got things ironed out now, and it’s GO TIME. I couldn’t be more excited or optimistic — and that’s a much needed shift, considering how gloomy the tail end of last year was.

Here’s what spurred me to write this post today: I had retired a finished book draft this fall, and forgot about it. After talking a bit about future book plans with some Facebook group folks the other day, I remembered that project, and it sparked an epiphany about a major question and challenge I was struggling to figure out in regards to my assorted book-writing projects.

Today, I just opened up that draft, started re-reading it and was really surprised. What I thought was shit six months ago turns out to be A LOT more polished and on-point than I had realized. It’s almost publish-ready, actually, and the timing for it couldn’t be more perfect, given the way things have been shifting around with my writing world in the past year.

What would have happened if I had let Write Short Kindle Books sit in my “shit” folder indefinitely? Absolutely nothing. I wouldn’t have hit #1 in my categories, launched a new book series, made some great new contacts in the writing world, or have earned an extra $1,000+ last month.

What would happen if I left this other finished manuscript sit there too? Or the next one? Or the next one?

So it’s easy to be your own harshest critic and tear your work apart. I do it often. Some people let this be a major roadblock preventing them from completing projects. But if you can muster the spirit to dive back in after getting some distance from your unpublished work, that can be exactly what you need to see the solution to the puzzle with crystal clarity, and lock down some of your most successful projects yet.

Don’t give up, and keep the words flowing!

—-

Check out my new book WRITE SHORT KINDLE BOOKS: A Self-Publishing Manifesto for Non-Fiction Authors

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  • The benefits of boosting your volume with many shorter, high-quality books
  • How to price your short ebooks for maximum success
  • Ideal word counts for Kindle books
  • How to break larger book ideas down into numerous smaller books
  • How to brainstorm, outline, and write books faster and more efficiently
  • How to save money on covers, editing, and Kindle book formatting
  • Why building a team of Beta Readers is crucial
  • How to bring your book from final draft to launch
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