Friday, March 11, 2011

journaling through the sirens

Every morning I write in my journal for 45 minutes or an hour. It's a spiritual, meditative, creative practice that I've followed for over a decade and my day doesn't seem complete without it, so much so that I'll get up an hour early on even the earliest of mornings to have time to do it. This morning, I was awakened at 5:30 by a housemate here in a beach rental. We had five minutes until the tsunami alert was going to go off and she didn't want us to be awakened in fear. We had about 30 minutes to evacuate to higher ground, to put our belongings back in our cars, after unpacking last night, and head up to the Catholic Church, which stands about 60 feet above the ocean.

I hadn't brought much or unpacked much so it only took two trips to my car but I made sure I had my journal with me. And once we got settled in the church, the others all wandered off to stand outside in the drizzle and watch the ocean and wait (90 minutes) for the waves to do whatever they were going to do. I opted instead to sit inside the church recreation center and write in my journal.

I mention this here because of a conversation I recently had with a friend. She was bemoaning my withdrawal from a social group we belonged to for a number of years, a group that met weekly. I was no longer attending regularly, citing other priorities. Writing is one of those priorities; in fact, it's one of the top 5 priorities for me and my life revolves around them. The others are painting, paid work, health and well-being, and family/intimate friends. I try to balance my life around those 5 as often as I can, giving them equal attention. Today my writing practice came first, even though it made me seem anti-social and isolationist to the others I was with. Fortunately, they know me. It was early morning and I needed to do what I always do. It was a way to feel grounded and safe in a situation that could have been problematic. It was also a way to live in to my writing commitment.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Getting your book out into the world

I came across the worksheet I created for a workshop last year. Thought some of you might find the questions useful in your work.

1. Describe your book project in detail (length, subject, genre, illustrated or text only, collaborators, self-publish).
2. Who is your target reading audience? (List all possible readers and markets; be specific).
3. Why are you writing this book? (List all reasons)
4. Estimate the number of people combined in #2 (e.g., hundreds, thousands, millions)
5. What is the current status of your book project?
6. What obstacles, if any, are you currently facing with this project?
7. What has been your writing experience before this book?
8. How would you rate yourself as a writer?
9. How would you rate yourself as an expert in your field?
10. How would you rate the originality of your book idea?
11. Are you a good self-editor?
12. How important (1 to 10) is it to you to have an excellent product?
13. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
14. Do you plan to self-publish? What do you know about self-publishing today?
15. Do you plan to look for an agent or external publisher? What do you know about this process?
16. How important is it for you to have control over the content and look of your book?
17. What kind of time and money budget do you have for marketing your book?
18. What is your previous experience with marketing products or services?