A 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.
Words and ideas don’t come easily to everyone. Each of us has our own mental blocks and quirks that can inhibit our creative flow from time to time. As I delve into in great detail with the first book in my new Indie Author Success Series, writing books can be faster, easier, and a lot more fun than you might expect. Sometimes, however, you’ll want to embark on a new book project, but your brain is all clogged up. What to do?
You sit down to write, but the words, the ideas, the pages just don’t come freely. Don’t sweat it. Maybe it’s time to explore alternative creative ways to building a solid base of material to turn into a draft of your first book project. Here are a few clever approaches to teasing the knowledge from your noggin — or gleaning it from the heads of others — to get your early draft material down.
I’m in the middle of a tight deadline week, so I’ll keep this short-ish [edit: HAHAHA YEAH RIGHT], but I wanted to take a quick moment to reflect on something I’ve mentioned in the past that was really driven home this week after watching the growing positive results of my latest book launch. You see, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a book project get as sticky in the Kindle Bestseller charts as Write Short Kindle Books has, so I wanted to quickly dissect that bit — and double down on the importance of RESEARCHING your niche BEFORE you write a book and also the importance of TARGETING your books to niches that have a strong audience.
I can think of a staggering number of moments throughout my decade-long journey as a professional writer where I could have just given up: on key projects, on my quest for certain dream gigs, on earning enough money to make a living from all of this, on so many things. Giving up is EASY. It’s also terribly boring.
Maybe it’s my stubbornness, or my drive to succeed despite the odds, but muscling down and sticking with things even when it feels like failure is imminent is a big part of why I’m able to keep writing professionally for a living. This week, and the past six months in general, has been a big reminder of that.
It takes a tremendous amount of willpower, energy, and focus to create something. To take an idea and see it through to fruition, whether it’s a book, a game, or something else. It’s very easy to pour so much of yourself into a creative project and the gargantuan task of getting it out into the world that it exerts a sort of symbiotic energy drain on your being. Sometimes once your creative venture is cut loose and set free into the world, you’re left with a weird sense of loss. And it can be crippling.
When you spend years writing about products, trends, culture, and things, it’s easy to lose touch with the human connection that ties it all together. But that’s what really makes it all interesting, isn’t it? As beings made of meat, water, and thought, we’re naturally drawn towards learning about others’ experiences, learning from the events of their lives, and discovering what makes them tick. I love reading those types of personal stories, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I discovered just how therapeutic writing my own could be.
In this debut installment of Shop Talk Interviews, I talk with long-time game journalist Andrew Groen about the massive Kickstarter success off his new book project: A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online. We chat about the project, cover some tips on how to run a slick book Kickstarter campaign, and also briefly touch on turning long-form articles into books.
If you like the show, stay tuned! I’ll be having other special interviews in the near future on a sporadic basis. You can also tune into my regular bi-weekly podcast The Freelance Game, which covers the ins-and-outs of the writing life and freelancing in the video game industry.