Archive for August, 2011

One of the most fun pieces of useful advice I’ve gleaned from all my studies on How To Write A Book….

is to Read What I Am Writing.

WahOOOOOOOOO!  Don’t haffa tell me twice!  I’m a reader like I’m an air breather. Seriously. If civilization ever fails to provide both libraries and hot running water, I’m outta here.

So that was not a hard one to follow.

I’m writing an aviation biography of my grandfather so I went cruising for aviation biography, or any biography actually. I’m not picky. The Lindburgh biography of course. That thing weighs like ten pounds. I feel smarter already. Amelia Earhart’s books. The absolutely beautiful “West With The Night” by Beryl Markham. The strange little gem “To Fly Like A Bird” by the Vertical Flight Heritage Series – Joe Mashman’s words, he flew with my grandfather. “Adventures In Aviation” by Kim Schribner, another pilot who my grandfather knew.

The first thing I gleaned was that there’s a structure and form and voice to aviation biographies. And it’s GOT to be about the planes. But it’s also got to be about the people. And I learned what a beautiful lyrical thing a biography can be. Which raised the bar for me and put me in writers block.


But anyway, I blazed back to the keyboard and kept with it.

The other piece of useful advice – to study my craft, the craft of writing – which I translated into taking classes, joining groups, subscribing to newsletters, studying or applying methods, finding and keep referring to websites, books, learning software…had also been useful. But the funnest of all is to READ.

And then it comes back to the writing. No matter what, I have to write the book. Writing Writing Writing…. no matter what to keep writing. So, I write.


Vision It… Write It (part of the series suggested by my publisher, who is also myself, since I am self published)

When my finger hovered over that final self-publishing button in my production of my book “Just a Couple of Chickens,” I hesitated. Once I released the book – I was going to lose control of the consequences. Since it was a memoir – chicken tale – urban chicken story… everyone would know my story. It had been my original intention, when I dreamed my life as a writer, that I would put out a blockbuster scifi book under a pen name. Instead, my real name would be associated with this book and everything in it, and since I planned to market the heck out of it in every way I could possibly think of… something was going to hatch from it.

And so I came to realize, at that late date, what kind of a commitment it was to produce a book. More than just writing it, I was going to be living with it, living it – up to my elbows, for years.

And that made an impression on me regarding future book projects I had in mind. Knowing that so long as I remained untouched by publishing contracts, monetary advances, and agent relationships, I retained my ability to write anything I pleased – answerable only to my own pocketbook to determine the marketability of my manifestos… I realized that I would also want to consider how it would be to forge a relationship with my subject matter for a very long time, and to take that into consideration when I was planning my next book project.

The June 2011 newsletter of the Portland, Oregon based Willamette Writers has an excellent article by Laura Whitcomb on this subject titled “Invite the Right One In,” and the whole issue is worth some careful thought. Thinking through the long term life of my writing project at the very beginning is pretty important, particularly in self publishing, because I won’t be handing the project off. I’ll be staying engaged with it for years.

The magic of “Just a Couple of Chickens” definitely endures. It captures a time of our life that was joy, as well as struggle. I’m really pleased to see it still selling and still finding a market – but not so pleased that one of the reasons it is still so attractive to readers is because our economic hard times continue to persist. It’s a joy to market the book – and the bright yellow cover is uplifting. It is a joy and a journey to write the sequel, currently in progress.

So this kind of forethought is part of Vision It – the thinking that goes into a book before the writing does… while the writing does. Because throughout all this study of publishing and business, there is nothing if there is no good book, which will not write itself. And so I Write It every day. Which is probably why I can’t seem to post every week.

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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