Fail Whale

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Yesterday, writing wise at least, was fairly productive. I must admit I felt invigorated having a project to get stuck into. As I bounced out of bed this morning, I had high hopes for another day of the same. These hopes were quickly dashed. Checking emails first thing in the morning might have to be cut out of my routine. First email was from my accountant. In case you might not know, technically speaking, I have my own translation company. A checkered past. If you need any documents translated from German to English, you now know who to come to. I specialize in gun manuals as well. Strange but true.

However, since my recent adventures, I have not translated anything in a while. It has been so long, in fact, that I forgot about certain aspects involved in the business side of things. Such as paying taxes. Which is a dose. First email was a reminder of how much I owe for the last business year. A severe body blow. Had me reeling big time.

This was followed by an email from Google calendar… Sort out my visa application requirements. A list of 10 things are needed for my visa appointment on Friday morning, 3 of them are by far more vital than the rest. Which I got out of the way a good while back. I kind of forgot about the other smaller 7 things. And when they are all read together, in one bullet of an email, those 7 little dwarves can seem like big chunky giants. This took the legs from under me, and had me flummoxed for a while. I still have not fully perfected the fine line of juggling the business side of daily life, in tune with the creative side of trying to achieve all the goals. It will come, juggle on. 

After deciding to just declare bankruptcy over my tax bill a la Michael Scott… “I DECLARE… BANKRUPTCY!” and chipping away at the 7 dwarves, I managed to gain a bit of composure. On the upside, I was then offered two DJ gigs this Saturday night. Problem being that they’re at the same time. Gigs and buses! Anyways, it has been a mixed bag of a day. One which could have been dealt with better, if I had been more prepared. Similar to my last stand-up gig, where I tried out all new material. Without actually preparing the material, just hoping to make trees grow from seeds of jokes, while I was up on stage. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and all that. Fail whale no more!

With that in mind, I decided I will be as fully prepared and equipped as I can, before I start to plough into writing my book full on. First book, so I’ve no real guidelines of my own to work off. While I am reading books that I like myself to take what I can from them, I have also been hunting down articles on tips and advice that will help me along the way. I’ve jotted down the ones that struck a chord with me the most so far. I might have re-worded or mashed a few together myself (in no particular order)…

  • Write like nobody is reading.
  • Avoid premature editing. Wait until the end. Get it written first.
  • Don’t be too self absorbed. Remember the target audience.
  • Shorten the sentences and paragraphs. Reel the reader in.
  • Use simple language. Write in an active voice as much as possible.
  • Clarify the book idea. Write a sales page. Helps to keep it focused. Write an outline.
  • Don’t just state a fact. Explain why it is important.
  • Never save your best for last. Start with the best and expand from there.
  • Shift focus. Vary things up.
  • First sentence is important. Sets the tone. 
  • Provide the reader with closure.
  • You never get it the first time. Art shows up in rewriting.
  • Avoid excessive use of adjectives and adverbs. Verb form: the shorter, the better.
  • Be interesting with every sentence. Be brief. Hemmingway’s rules – “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Be vigorous. Be positive, not negative.”
  • If you can be misread, you will be.
  • String short sentences together to stress a point or add dramatic punch to the story. 
  • Mixing shorter and longer sentences adds good variety and music to the writing.
  • Omit commas, but don’t overuse the technique. Speeds up the readability. Joseph Conrad example – “I took out a comma… I put it back in.”

 And, probably the most important rule of all…

  • There are no rules to write a good book. Break all of the above.

The Joseph Conrad story is good enough. Never heard of him myself, but apparently he had a writing room and he would get his wife to lock him in so he could concentrate. One day when he came out for lunch, she asked him did he do much in the past few hours… “I took out a comma.” Went back in after lunch, came out for dinner hours later, same question, the answer this time… “I put the comma back in.” Isn’t that a great little story! Probably made more sense to me when I read it first. Not too sure of its relevance now.

Anyways, those are my guidelines which I shall use when writing my book. Now that I know them, it should be almost too easy to write a masterpiece. They might be of use to others, who knows, spread the love! Now that I think of it, a good lot of those probably came from The Writer’s Digest website that I stumbled across. Might want to check that out as well. Thats about it. I must get my sleep on, as I still have 5 little dwarves to nail tomorrow. Plus there’s the stuff for the visa I must sort out too. Duu.

Diamond Rings

All Yr Songs – Diamond Rings

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