Have you ever thought you’d like to write a book? In last week’s blog I shared how my brother, not satisfied with the information he was finding in the media on climate control, decided to, as he put it: “take responsibility and do some digging for myself, ” which led him to his college Physics book, where he found the information he needed. After two weeks of hiking in Utah and Arizona, on a quest for a mystical transformation, what he did on his quest made me realize I would and could write a book. My declaration on writing a book–go big or go home. And as lovely Maya Angelou says:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
What Will it Be About?
It’s going to be about self-discovery through writing. I read book after book on writing, I read and listen to novels, and I’m take writing classes. In a few weeks I start a class called Reading Like a Writer, because if you want to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. I’m reading memoirs now to help me with my book. Here are a few of the titles: Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt, The Liars Club, Lit, and the The Art of Memoir, all by Mary Karr. All of them really great reads. My next memoir will be This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff.
“The reader and writer must know that we are always on the process of self-discovery. So writing is not so much about dispelling than acquiring wisdom, less about explaining a point of view of a given experience to others, than about exploring and learning about oneself. ” The Making of a Story, by Alice LaPlant
What Would Tony Robbins Do
You may be familiar with Personal Growth guru, Tony Robbins. Self-made billionaire, highest education; high school. He has a theory; if you want to become an expert at something, you look at other successful people — in my case — successful writers, and you do what they did. You attain, as he says, mastery by immersing yourself in whatever you want to do. That’s what I’ve been doing; full immersion.
I spend two hours a day writing and one hour editing and I read for two or three hours.
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” William Faulkner
Tony Robbins says you need to learn from the best. I’ve taken four classes through Stanford Continuing Education. The instructors are published authors; extremely knowledgable and down to earth. Some of them teach at Stanford and others at well known universities. The prices are reasonable. It’s nowhere near the cost of a four year degree. And the best part is that I select the classes that apply to the writing skills I’m trying to hone. I have a bachelor’s in Italian Studies and a Master’s in Spanish Language, Culture and Literature. I put my time in getting my degrees and now I’m putting my reading, writing and research skills to the test and leveraging my love of writing and literature to write my book.
Before climbing Angels Landing in Zion National Park, one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, I was on the fence, and kind of afraid. I was sitting in front of the final treacherous half mile, talking to people. One woman said she was an A personality, but when it came to climbing to the top she was an F personality.
I was worried about the chains (which are bolted into the side of the mountain) or lack thereof on some parts of the mountain and another guy said: “There’s chains on most of the climb.” These were the golden words, because in that moment I committed to get to the top. And as I ascended, turning back was not an option. And that’s how I feel about this book. I’m committed and there’s no turning back. No more do se do around what I’m most passionate about. It’s go big or go home.
On Writing a Book–Go Big or Go Home
I’m playing with the title of the book, and I’m sure the right one will evolve during the writing. I’ve outlined the chapters and every day I spend time working on one of them. It also takes a lot of time to edit. I can’t just write and write volumes without going back and trimming the fat. It seems a little chaotic to me in my head and on the paper, but it’s evolving and so is something inside of me. I wake up everyday and feel stronger. It’s like I was sick for many years and then I found a cure and day by day this inner strength grows. Creative ideas bounce around in my head. I run to my computer or notebook to jot them down. It’s excitement, it’s joy, it’s passion, it’s me. Remember to go big or go home.
Please leave me any tips or books you’ve read on your own writing or reading journey. You can leave a comment below or email me.