It seems so easy. You plan the book. Then, you sit down and write the book. Alas, it’s not that easy. At least not if you want to do it well. Here are three reasons why your wonderful book plan is likely to come apart.
There Will Be Lots of Drafts
Great writing is rewriting, and great books are the result of a lot of it. It all starts when you get your ideas out of your head and into a pile or into a file. Then, you put them in workable order. Maybe you do that with a major scene draft. You might try a zero draft. Or you might use that tried and true outline you learned in high school.
Once you’ve got the plan, you crank out that first draft. Going in, you’re likely to think it will be clear, lucid, and complete. When you’re done it’s likely to seem murky, messy, and riddled with gaps.
That’s when you start your second draft. The job of the second draft is to fill out the first draft so it makes sense.
The third draft polishes the second draft. You send the third draft out to the beta readers. They send back comments. Some of those comments will be surprising. Some will be helpful. Some may be important.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to work the important comments into a fourth draft. That’s the draft you send on to a professional editor.
I this “wrestling the angels of meaning onto a page.” It’s not easy. You’ll keep finding things you want to fix. That’s the way it is.
Your Plan Will Probably Not Match Reality
You’ll find out lots of things that you should fix as you do the actual writing. When ideas are in your head, they’re connected to lots of other ideas. When you force them into a book, they’re only connected to two: the one before and the one after.
No matter how good your plan is, the book you write will not match the smooth connection of ideas that you imagined. That’s the way it is.
The Universe Gets A Vote
Stuff happens. Maybe there’ll be a big windstorm and you’ll lose power for a couple of days. Maybe you’ll get the flu. Maybe you’ll have to spend a lot of time helping your child with their science project. There may be a business emergency that requires your full attention for days. All kinds of things might happen. And almost all of them will at some point.
Keep your plan loose. If you’re working toward a hard deadline, you may have to cut down on some other activities to make it.
We don’t know what things are going to go wrong. We do know that during the year it takes to write your book there will be situations and emergencies that keep you from writing. That’s the way it is.
Writing a book is a complex project that takes more than a year. You’ll have problems with the book itself and the content. The book you publish probably won’t match up to the version you had in your head. And there will be all kinds of emergencies and interruptions you didn’t plan for. That’s the way it is.