The funny thing about writing is that it can be one of the most challenging and intimidating things to begin, but often, once you start, you discover that you can’t stop. You have so many ideas, so many things to write. You find yourself taking multiple page tangents because, let’s be honest, this information is just too good not to share! And then you realize you have so much information to cram into this book, it’s probably going to end up being 10,000 pages long!
The answer is to focus. Whether you are an author who has written dozens of books or a newbie who has yet to write his or her first, THE most important thing you can do for your book is determine the main objective. When a reader picks up a book about fish, he only wants to read about fish. If he wanted to read about that time you went fishing with your dad, because that is a really great story, the reader can buy your memoir.
One book. One idea. That is the rule.
Don’t Kill Your Darlings, Just Put Them Aside for Your Next Book
Right now you may be reevaluating your idea or finished book and realizing that, while you got everything you wanted written down, your focus is a little muddy. Don’t be discouraged; you are on your way to a more excellent project that clearly communicates your vision. You may have heard the editorial cliché “kill your darlings.” This phrase refers to the heart wrenching necessity of having to cut beautiful and meaningful sections (in your opinion) of text for the sake of the larger cause. We’ve all been there. Sometimes you have to admit that the sentence or chapter you spent weeks crafting just doesn’t have a place this project.
However, we are not asking you to kill your darlings, simply to put them aside. Does your project currently have two different focuses: how to fish and stories about fishing? Well, you may have just articulated the idea for book number two.
The Reality of Creating a Quality Project
The reality is you may have multiple books in your book. Agents and publishers need an articulated focus in order to market and sell your book. You may have to do some surgery. But think of your book as a one of those worms that when cut in half, grows into two separate beings.
Choose the idea that excites you most. What do you most want to communicate through this project? Honing in on your focus allows you to clearly articulate your goals and know when to put the pen down. It is better to have a finished project communicating one idea, than a 10,000-page document still sitting on your computer. Save those ideas for the next book. For now, get this one published!
Kerry Wade is an Intern/Assistant Editor for Inspira. She is an avid reader as well as writer. Her favorite place to read is anywhere warm, ideally in a hammock at the beach while enjoying an iced coconut milk chai!
Do you have a book manuscript or concept you’d like to see published? We’d be happy to discuss your editorial, design, printing, and publishing needs, whether you choose self- or traditional publishing. Our motto is, “from idea in head to book in hand!”