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When to write a book?

"You should write a book about that"...a common in response to an experience shared with another...but should I? What makes a story so compelling that it needs to be authored and published?

Topics: author

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    Apr 20 2013: Good afternoon all,

    Many wish to have written, few possess the stamina to write.

    Expanding even a 1,000-word tale into a 100,000 book is difficult, grueling work.

    Do all you can to make today a good day,

    • Apr 21 2013: Jeff, thank you for your understanding.

      Writing need not be difficult. Just write what you feel.
      The spelling is not important as you write. Just write.
      Words will come, just think and type. Unless you have
      a voice machine to aid you.

      I tell stories when I write. I take small experiences and
      tell it like it is. It brings me a satisfaction.

      But, remember, like everything else, you must first start.
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        Apr 22 2013: Good morning Frank,

        That's true, you're absolutely right.

        Years ago I adapted the following from a piece written by one of my favorite writers, Walter Mosley, and made it my daily, morning liturgy:

        "I am a writer. I write every day. The consistency, the monotony, the certainty, all vagaries and passions are covered by this daily reoccurrence.

        A writer does not go to a well once but daily. I don't skip a child's breakfast or forget to wake up in the morning. Sleep comes to me each day, and so does my muse.

        Kaliope comes softly and quietly, behind my left ear or in a corner of the next room. Her words are whispers, her ideas shifting renditions of possibilities that have not been resolved, though they have occurred and reoccurred a thousand times in my mind. She is a collection of memories not exactly my own.

        These reminiscences surface in dreams or out of abstract notions brought on by tastes and excitations, failures and hopes that I experience continually. These ideas have no physical form. They are smoky concepts liable to disappear at the slightest disturbance. An alarm clock or a ringing telephone will dispel a new character; answering the call will erase a chapter from the world. My most precious ability, the knack of creation, is also my most fleeting resource. What might be fades in the world of necessity.

        How can I create when I have to go to work, cook my dinner, remember what I did wrong to the people who have stopped calling? And even if I do find a moment here and there ā€“ a weekend away in the mountains, say ā€“ how can I say everything I need to say before the world comes crashing back with all of its sirens and shouts and television shows?

        ''I know I have a novel in me,'' I often hear people say. ''But how can I get it out?''

        The answer is, always is, every day.

        The dream of the writer, of any artist, is a fickle and amorphous thing. One evening Iā€™m remembering a homeless (continued on next comment)...
        • Apr 23 2013: Jeff, imagination is everything.
          You've got it all.

          Myself, I tell stories.
          Truths that may be embellished a bit.
          Stilted somewhat.
          No time at this moment to share.
          Later perhaps.

          Stick with your imagination.

          I will add this query...
          Have you noticed when sleeping;
          on one side, analytical,
          the other side emotional?
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        Apr 22 2013: (continued from previous comment)... "man, dressed in clothes that smelled like cheese rinds, whom I once stood next to on a street corner in New York. My memory becomes a reverie, and in this daydream I ask him where he's from. With a thick accent he tells me that he was born in Hungary, that he was a freedom fighter, but that now, here in America, his freedom has deteriorated into the poverty of the streets. I write down a few sentences in my journal and sigh. This exhalation is not exhaustion but anticipation at the prospect of a wonderful tale exposing a notion that I still only partly understand.

        A day goes by. Another passes. At the end of the next week I find myself in the same chair, at the same hour when I wrote about the homeless man previously. I open the journal to see what I'd written. I remember everything perfectly, but the life has somehow drained out of it. The words have no art to them; I no longer remember the smell. The idea seems weak, it has dissipated, like smoke.

        This is the first important lesson that the writer must learn. Writing a novel is gathering smoke.

        Writing is an excursion into the ether of ideas. There's no time to waste. I must work with that idea as well as I can, jotting down notes and dialogue. The first day the dream I gathered will linger, but it won't last long. The next day I have to return to tend to my flimsy vapors. I have to brush them, reshape them, breathe into them and gather more.

        I have to begin each day with my work because creation, like life, is always slipping away from me. I must write every day. One day I might read over what I've done and think about it. I pick up the pencil or turn on the computer, but no new words come. That's fine. Sometimes I can't go further. Correct a misspelling, reread a perplexing paragraph, and then let it go. I have re-entered the dream of the work, and that's enough to keep the story alive for another twenty-four hours. The next day I might write for hours; (continued)...
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        Apr 22 2013: : (continued) "there's no way to tell. All I need to do is to keep my heart and mind open to the work.

        Nothing I create is art at first. It's simply a collection of notions that may never be understood. Returning every day thickens the atmosphere. Images appear. Connections are made. But even these clearer notions will fade if I stay away more than a day.

        Reality fights against my dreams, it tries to deny creation and change. The world wants me to be someone known, someone with solid ideas, not blowing smoke. Given a day, reality will begin to scatter my notions; given two days, it will drive them off.

        The act of writing is a kind of guerrilla warfare; there is no vacation, no leave, no relief. In actuality there is very little chance of victory.

        I am, I fear, like that homeless man, likely to be defeated by my fondest dreams.

        Then the next day comes, and the words, and Kaliope, are waiting. I pick up where I left off, in the cool and shifting mists of morning."

        Adapted from "For Authors, Fragile Ideas Need Loving Every Day"
        by Walter Mosley, 3 July 2000.

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