True confessions. I am an introvert, a loner, and was not intending to write my story, much less about this weird project I’m doing– because of the way it’s happening, because the story will be public and everyone will see me, and because the project could fail in the most amazing, most public way possible (for me). Then I saw some of my heroes, all as weird or weirder than I am, dancing in my mind, saying, “What the hell… let’s just do this!” and I remembered how much fun I was having.
The Weird Project
I’m splitting my 600-page story about a two-year awakening experience that happened 27 years ago into 3 parts to be published digitally, separately, with a gap, I’m guessing, of at least three to four months between each book.
At first, I was doing it because it just felt right.
Handling only one part at a time would be especially beneficial in writing the first part of the story which gives an inside view of how I was affected by burnout or nervous breakdown–two terms used by my professional therapists to describe what I experienced. It’s intense! There were… psychotic episodes!
What kind of freak would want to go back there?
I do! I want to go back there… Why? Because, I confess, helping others has been a driving part of who I am most of my life–teacher, psychotherapist, massage therapist, yoga teacher . . .
And when I joined SPS (Self-Publishing School), I realized that writing about my experience wasn’t a totally selfish indulgence, like “Yo; look at what I did!”, but actually might help someone else in a similar situation, just as SkatingThru2012 did according to reader comments.
That, and the fact, I’m reminded daily, that going back there still amazes me. I’m having so much fun writing this project, because in doing so, I now see it all so clearly, understand so much better what actually happened. And I have an insatiable need to understand…why we do what we do, what it all means….
For me, it’s a great adventure to learn something radically different from my experience, radically different from whichever personal view of the world has become hardened into stone. I like to imagine that I’m evolving somehow and now refer to such experiences as “awakenings”, a term adopted from Jeffrey Martin’s work.
This awakening experience I’m writing about now was an outstanding adventure for rattling the cage of my reality, for shifting my spiritual journey! Not only that, but the process of writing it is also an awakening experience…
And now I’m finally ready to share it!
And, now I’ll be sharing a bit of the process…here!
Brief progress update Re’ the book(s):
Book 1 has been written five times– five different versions with different perspectives–since July 2016 when I began to draft this story in Camp NaNoWriMo.
Two weeks ago a handful of beta readers was invited to read the current draft, then to advise me whether or not the content was worth publishing and to give examples of what they liked and didn’t and why by Tuesday, September 20, 2016.
I’ll consider their feedback carefully and make whatever adjustments are necessary, but I’ll still go forward, simply because this morning I realized again that I’m having too much fun to quit. “Having fun” means there is no attachment to the outcome; it is permission to do it for the love of it…
Books 2-3 have been tentatively identified. The question was, “What is the next story–one with a beginning, middle, and end?” At this point they are generally mapped.
Book 4 was given to me a few days ago during meditation–with description and guidelines for mapping, but it’s on my list to type it up today because my ability to read my handwriting, like good intentions, fades if I don’t act on it. (UPDATE: Book 4 will be a “Cliff’s Notes version of all the lessons learned almost 30 years ago — before Internet!)
Fiction writers do something like my Weird Project–publish a series about a continuing story– but this might be new turf for a memoir. Another difference is that my process is not known by me in advance but is delivered on a “need to know” basis. Recall in my opening true confession that there was something weird about the process, the way it’s happening.
How about you? Got a story you want to tell? Not quite sure how to go about it? Click here and check it out.
Steve Weber’s book, ePublish, included a passage I now see as the “seed thought” that appeared to me in meditation in August about the challenges I was experiencing re’ writing this memoir:
“Working three months, six months or a year to finish a book is a steep climb when the payoff is distant and uncertain. Just start. The thing that will keep you going is reader feedback. Every time you finish a section, you can sell the installment online, or give it away free. Instead of facing the impossible task of writing a book all at once, break it up. You can get paid for each installment, and more importantly, get reader feedback, which can guide and motivate you. Then, you can publish a “beta” edition of your book, and get more reader feedback. You’ll tweak your book some more, then digitally print a paperback… (p.8).”
I believe that subconsciously, I had that thought, already knew how to do it, and was reminded to “Look at that book again!” Doing so affirmed the unfolding, relentlessly encouraging plan guiding my Weird Project. I had read Weber’s book in 2010 prior to publishing my first book, My Final Quit, simply to learn how to be an indie author, but was unable to let it go, to toss it. Now I know why!
There are other influences to my decision to pursue My Weird Project, and as soon as I type up those notes, I’ll be sharing them, too.
Meanwhile, if you want some help getting your book idea written and published, Click here and check it out. “It’s more fun in a group” confesses the Recluse.
Till next time, be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi
UPDATE: re’ Weber’s advice
The very next day after publishing this post about the advice Weber gave in his book about publishing in bits for feedback, I realized I hadn’t included the punchline which appears on p.19:
“One of the best things you can do for your readers and yourself is to simply print your e-mail address in your book’s introduction. Ask for reader comments, suggestions, and corrections. In return, you’ll get a gold mine of ideas for new editions, books, and spinoffs.”
Well. I did a little research on Amazon. Weber was a journalist and his books are journalistic how-to books about, well, all things digital–e.g., How to sell on ebay, how to write an e-book, how to use Kindle paperwhite (best-seller!)…
Then I Looked Inside at the beginning of each book to see how he did that–put his name and email address and asked for feedback–and didn’t find any instance in the three books I checked. Hmm.
My conclusion: the advice from the paragraph, “One of the best things you can do…” probably was intended for those who have an advanced reader group, a captured flock of readers prior to publication–i.e., not for the published book.
Whew! Good save!
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