The fifteen stages of writing
Estimated reading time: 2¼ minutes
People kept telling me "You should write a book."
I told them I had never written a book.
In my undergrad years, I was an English major. I learned how to read and analyze so I could write term papers. I loved reading – still do – but I labored over writing.
In my work years, I’ve written hundreds of articles, blogs, training programs and presentations. Nothing longer than 50 pages.
I asked them if the world really needed another book on art marketing?
There is plenty of information available about marketing and social media for artists who have already started a career.
So what’s missing?
In my research and surveys of career advice for artists, I found very little about what came between being a hobbyist or amateur and becoming a working artist.
So “My Real Job is Being an Artist” began as a series of notes about what I’d observed was missing on what it takes to make art for a living.
To prepare myself for this new project, I took workshops and read books and Blogs about how to write a book.
I thought that maybe in 18 to 24 months I’d have the book written. I usually tell my clients to at least double their estimates – and so here we are many people and moons later with a book worth publishing.
People kept asking me what it took to write the book. (The same ones who said to write it. Hmmmm…)
The early stages were exciting as I saw my thinking take form in words and paragraphs.Then chapters. And sections. And finally a three part book.
There were many times when I felt as though my writing would never be up to the task and that I would never have a book worth reading.
What kept me going was my clear vision of the book I wanted to write suppported by the unwavering enthusiasm of my coaches, artist friends, clients and colleagues.
So to live up to that vision and to honor that support, I put in in the time and energy for all those months:
- I brainstormed, mind mapped and made lists.
- Wrote, and wrote and wrote.
- Tore up, deleted and wrote some more.
- Hired a writing coach to help organize the bits and ask questions to fill in the gaps.
- Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote some more.
- Put together a manuscript for reviewers.
- Hired a designer and illustrator for the cover and lead pages.
- Asked emerging, mid-career and established artists to review the manuscript.
- Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote some more, to incorporate the reviewer feedback.
- Hired a developmental editor to make sure the essential content was in the right sequence, with the right words and the right examples.
- Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote some more, to incorporate the editor’s feedback.
- Hired a “Smoother” editor who ironed out any remaining wrinkles in words, headings and subheadings.
- Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote to incorporate that feedback.
- Hired an index company to proof read and set up the index.
- Made corrections to incorporate that feedback.
What will make the "blood, sweat and tears" and my personal investment worthwhile is that each person who reads my book will use the practical information "Being an Artist." And when you are done, let me know if you are now fully ready to declare “My Real Job is Being an Artist” or to chose to continue making art for pleasure rather than profit. Either is a clear choice that will do good things for your art and life.
Those people are now asking “So where’s the book?”
“My Real Job is Being an Artist” is now having a copyright update and then goes into the publishing queue.
Thanks for cheering me on!