Hey, it’s Bisk the spider crab! He’s also the proud proprietor of Inkopolis Square’s premier shoe shop, Shella Fresh. His many long limbs welcome customers one and all, and he exudes the type of laid-back cool you just can’t teach.
was a gloomy fall day all around. The grey and drizzle outside had persisted at
least since you’d woke well before dawn that morning and trudged to your bus
stop and into work. Even in your waterproof hooded jacket, the humidity clung
to your skin and filled your lungs like a smooth heavy smoke.
you unlocked the door and shrugged out of your dripping coat, you rubbed your
hands together and got to the first order of business: making yourself some
coffee. With the lights to the shop still dim and the world outside not quite
waking, you started up the massive ovens and pulled out the racks of small
pastries the night shift had prepared before closing yesterday. The morning
continued as always, you buzzed through the small shop, swapping fresh baked
pastries from the oven to the display case, sometimes adding a drizzle of
sweet, sticky icing, sometimes a bit of orange zest, sometimes a thick, warm
chocolate sauce that would firm up just enough to stick as it cooled.
Now, prepare for the third volume, the most in-depth behind-the-scenes of writing books yet…
Every book that you read has a story to tell. Not just the one in the pages, but so too the behind-the-scenes hell.
I documented what writing a book looks like from Day 1 to Release Day. The work never ends. You write wherever and whenever you can.
And when I say write, I mean, you have to WRITE
Here’s a secret: the more you write, the longer the book gets!
Sometimes you’re gonna be absolutely STUMPED. Like the entire universe is just being petty and conspiring against you.
When all else fails, drink coffee. Worship coffee. Sacrifice your first-born child to coffee.
Sometimes you’ll show up at your regular writing spot AND SOMEONE WILL HAVE STOLEN YOUR SEAT, THE STUPID, FAT HOBBITSEES
So you’re forced to write out of your element, totally distracted as you figure out ways to make it look like an accident…
And remember how your teachers always said you’d need to use math everywhere in life? Well, they weren’t wrong…
Every day, you persist. Inching closer. And closer. Every word pushing the story toward its close.
It might take a week, or a month or two or three, but every time you add another 10k, you can’t help but feel a swell of pride.
There will always be the days you miss writing, but that’s absolutely okay! Don’t beat yourself up! You can make time for it. Writing is art, and art takes time, and shouldn’t be rushed.
And one day you’ll sit down and stare at your screen and realize….the end is near. You can feel you’re closing in on those final words, those last sentences with the characters you’ve spent the past year with.
When you write those last words, a wave of relief will slam into you. You might shed some tears, because writing a book is difficult, and finishing the first draft is an incredible feat to achieve. Treat yo self. You deserve it.
Then…..take a break. Take as long a break as you need. Some people might need a month, some a year. Whatever your rhythm is, find it, stick to it, and never give it up.
No matter if you edit by hand or by computer, print out that first draft. Hold it in your hands, feel the weight of the words you wrote. The words that were stuck in your head for months, even years. Flip through those pages and look at what YOU created.
Then, when the time is right, edit that book.
Maybe you’ll finish editing a chapter in a day. Maybe it’ll take a week. For me, it’s usually an hour per page! Edit at your own pace. It’s not a race!
And then…..voila. You’ve edited the first draft!…….
If you have other books out, don’t let them fall to the wayside! Keep marketing, keep telling people about them (and showing them your work on the newest one!!), and get book signings and events whenever you can! Bookstores are ALWAYS looking for authors to feature. Just ask!
And of course, make it fun for yourself, too! Book flare and merchandise? Um, YES PLEASE.
Aaaaaaaaaaand now you need to focus again, and, you know, actually put all those edits in. Which usually turns into an entirely new round of editing in-and-of itself.
Keep putting those edits in….
And more, and more, and more edits…
Did I mention sometimes you’ll need to go to extreme lengths to fit in writing days?
Although art itself is so, so, so rewarding, we’re all still human. Some days will be more difficult than others. Some days, your mind will weigh you down. These can be the hardest days, but push through. Find an anchor and hold tight and take care of yourself.
Other times, you’ll be traveling! Take your writing with you. I find that when I’m on vacation, I’m a much more productive writer! The atmosphere is usually more relaxed. You’re not in a familiar place, so it gets your creative juices flowing stronger!
When you’ve edited your book a few times, FIND BETA READERS. These can be friends, followers on social media, or someone random you meet in your coffee/tea shop! Get fresh sets of eyes looking at your work! They will make suggestions, edits, and faun over your book.
Sometimes they’ll make corny jokes.
You will get a TON of feedback, and you will have to compile them all together, chapter by chapter, reading and considering every single comment and comma.
Your beta readers will love you forever when they finish reading your book. Guaranteed. Always. So in love. Yes.
Eventually, your beta readers will finish, and the countdown to publication will begin…
As you near the end, the Universe might have some surprises in store for you. Me? It took me back to the exact seat and window where I wrote the entire first draft of the first book in the series….a very poetic twist of fate.
Finally, the day will come when every major edit is done. When you’ve skimmed and scanned and combed and proofed. When you have a cover design and formatted all the pages to books, it’s time to order those first copies.
And then….the day comes….when your book finally arrives. You see the mail truck pull up and you see the boxes, and you just KNOW it’s for you.
And then you open them and look inside….
And you get to hold it in your hands for the first time ever…..
And you get to put it next to the other books that come before it….
And then you get to ship some of them out to ARC readers who will be reviewing your book before it’s released!!!!
And then you get order an entire shipment for upcoming book signings, and copies to send out to people who pre-ordered, and seeing them all stacked together will ALWAYS be a beautiful sight. Cherish it. Take a picture to show off to potential readers, that image of YOUR books all stacked together.
This is what writing is like. This is what goes into all those thousands of hours of sitting behind a computer. This is how books come into existence. It’s not the same steps for everyone, but the process for all of us is similar. It’s not easy. You won’t see a dime for your work for years, unless you already have books being sold.
But it’s worth it. Pouring your soul into writing a book, or making music, or graphic art… This is the beauty, the struggle, the dedication, the pain, the hours of lost sleep, the gallons of caffeine, the barista friends you make along the way….
Even though they might catch you in your candid element…..
But you will form a bond with them. They will learn your favorite order, have it ready the moment you walk in the door. And if you ever leave, it will be a heart-wrenching day…
They might give you a keepsake, too, to remember them by….
Stay humble, and remember every moment. Every experience. Appreciate everyone who helped you along the way, from giving you free drinks and food, to all the support and encouragement, to the avid fans who rave about your books. They’re all here for you, following your journey as you write.
For this particular book, the journey was 23 months, from December 2015 to October 2017. It takes a long time, even when you work every single day, and stick to a strict schedule. Some days you won’t want to write at all. Some days you won’t want to stop. That’s okay. Just hold true to your passion, and celebrate your accomplishments.
Don’t let anyone tell you not to write. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. We all live through the same process, from the great artists to the starving artists. If you want to write a book, this is what it looks like. Though writing a book isn’t easy, the reward of holding it in your hands is worth the days, the months, the years. You will have created something beautiful. You will have created art.
Pretty odd reminds me of flowers and bright blue sky’s, it reminds me of meeting someone new, and having that one friend that’s just as weird as you are, it reminds me of going to the fair on a sunny day, and watching the sunset over the ocean as the sky turns from blue to golden to black, it reminds me of long road trips with your closest friends and having your car break down In some unknown town but you still get out and turn it into an adventure, it reminds me of re-reading your favourite books, and making daisy chains in middle school, it reminds me of inspiration and letting your imagination flow, sunflowers and sweet kisses, it reminds me of adventure and being happy with who you are, it reminds me of turntables and old records, and picking fresh flowers for your room, it reminds me of cute Polaroids and hanging them up just for the sake of memories, it reminds me of the sun and the moon and the day and the night, calm soothing weather when it’s not to hot or cold but Just about right, though it also reminds me of the pouring rain, sitting inside staring out the window watching it come down, just thinking, and running outside because you just don’t care if you get wet, and jumping in puddles with brightly coloured gumboots, it reminds me of change in yourself, of finally finding who you are and just being able to say “this is who I am and I’m proud” and just being content with that feeling, it reminds me of spring and floral cocktail dresses, and fancy cocktails, it reminds me of being alone at sea, not In any danger but rather content with the sounds of the waves, standing on a deserted beach watching the waves lap against your ankles, it reminds me of finding someone you really love and staying with them for the rest of your life doing all the craziest things together, it reminds me of telling stories around the campfire and singing songs, it reminds me of singing at the top of your lungs even if your voice isn’t up to par, I think of pretty lanterns and white dresses, umbrellas and raincoats, it reminds me of fairy lights and garden parties, the colours green, blue and yellow, but not bright colours, like pastel shades and soft subtle brush strokes on a fresh canvas, it reminds me of dancing with people you love, I think of un-painted nails and natural shades of hair, It reminds me of daydreaming and marching bands, I think of pocket watches and vests and giving flowers to your friends, toothy smiles and twinkling eyes, blue skies and white clouds, chirping birds and not caring about what people think about you or if you’re different and stand out a little bit because you enjoy being you, playing music with other people, it also reminds me of getting really high with your friends and just laughing at everything even if it’s not funny and living in the present and not worrying about the past or What’s to come in the future, ending unhealthy relationships and having that content feeling After it because you’re FREE,also thinking that nothing matters except for being with the person you love the most, growing as a person, talking to someone you like and forgetting how to speak in those moments, I think of crying so much that you just can’t anymore, I think of Ballet twirls and dancing through the streets singing, vintage shops and old Volkswagen busses, big sunglasses and flowy scarves, it reminds me of blowing bubbles a d freshly mown lawns, big maps hung up on walls with the places you want to visit all pinpointed down, it reminds me of mall alleyways and welcoming coffee shops early in the morning, I think of laying outside at night by yourself and just staring up into the sky and thinking about life, flower shops and fresh air, pianos and scented candles and saving up for something expensive in nothing but coins, it reminds me of green eyes and freckles, i think of innocence and kisses on the forehead, candid photos and taking that extra bit of time to smell the flowers and take in your surroundings and notice the little things in life before you miss them, holding hands and skipping, it reminds me of the song blue skies and the album let it be, it reminds me of just sitting around and having fun and it makes me forget about anything real and fills my head with imagery, it reminds me of standing on a stage in front of thousands of people, playing your music, doing what YOU love and the realisation that you made it and you’ve achieved that dream that you’ve always been working on, it reminds me of just being happy.