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Table of Contents Introduction PART I Fearless Chapter 1: Rose to Ash Clinging to writing ideas squeezes the life out of them. Loosen your grip. Why saving a book "idea" is always deadly. Chapter 2: Books Plural, and Under the Bed Setting up a writing life is a long-term commitment. Think in terms of writing a series of books and starting the first one becomes suddenly possible. Chapter 3: Limits Why not having unlimited time and unlimited funding helps you get your book written right on schedule. Chapter 4: The 100 Adapted from the Pilates strength-training program used by professional football players and dancers, this exercise helps you build a strong foundation for writing effective books. Chapter 5: Slow Is Fearless The international "Slow Food" movement provides the inspiration for getting that book project moving nice and steady. Chapter 6: Alone Together You have to get bad at some social skills and learn a few new ones in order to sustain your daily writing long enough to complete a book-length manuscript. Chapter 7: Surround Sound Saturate your life with your writing so that every hour you are reminded of your book. Chapter 8: Positioning Stop a cycle of non-starts. Take a lesson from first graders. Lay out your things the night before. Chapter 9: Mike's Mistake Many of us write essays, stories, articles, letters, beautifully, easily. Why is it, then, that we choke when we are writing The Book? Chapter 10: Burden of Being (Nice All the Time) While you must be ethical, kind, and responsible, it's unlikely you will finish and publish your book while attending to the needs of a large group of other people. How can you conserve energy kindly? Chapter 11: Once Upon a Whine Complaining about your writing life and the publishing business is common-even addictive. Why and when to go cold turkey. Chapter 12: Good Enough How perfect does your book have to be? How do you know what's done and what still needs work? When is it Good Enough? Chapter 13: Faith in Writing Believing in your book-that it is worth it, that it's good, that it means something, that it even exists-takes a special kind of commitment. Call it faith. Chapter 14: You're Ready Now In order to learn how to write a book, you must write a book. In fact, your book-in-progress turns out to be the perfect writing teacher for you. You are absolutely ready. PART II Focused Chapter 15: Wise Guides Writing a book is a bit like going off alone to a desert island. You get to take some books with you on your journey; will you pack wisely, with intention? Chapter 16: Strategic Deceit It's okay to keep your writing life private. It's preferable, actually. A little creative storytelling creates time for your book. Chapter 17: Falling in Love with Your Book Keeping the spark alive over the long haul-in relationships and in book-writing-requires your best energy and constant attention. Chapter 18: Sexy Next Book One particular distraction may occur many times during the book-writing year. A brand new book idea intrudes, begging to be written. How to resist the Fresh Start Sirens. Chapter 19: Taking Baby Along: How to Travel With a Book-in-Progress When your normal daily writing routine is broken because of a vacation or business trip, prepare yourself for the special travel needs of the book (or hire a book-sitter). Chapter 20: Braids The braid technique helps you see what you have to say, and it provides a structure that will see you through writing the middle of your book (where many writers go missing). Chapter 21: The Little Editor Who Can't Stop In your head, as you write a book, there's often a little editor-a voice-over-telling you what to do, what not to do. Essential tips for silencing this Voice of Destruction. Chapter 22: Naked Writing is exposure. You expose yourself, no matter what your topic, and you expose others. How to be naked and wise. (Not easy.) Chapter 23: Stuck/Unstuck Writing a book is a series of getting stuck and unstuck. Practical techniques to free yourself from common writing quagmires. Part III Flying Chapter 24: Writing Is Revising Revision isn't a do-over. It's re-seeing what you have written. Experienced writers use re-seeing as the mainstay of a writing practice (it works). Chapter 25: Just Want To Be Done The pressure to finish too quickly and submit your book before its ready is going to assert itself throughout your book-writing endeavor. How to manage the fiercely proud "I'm Done" devil. Chapter 26: Eleanor's Quandary What if you ignore everyone's advice, and you do submit your book before its ready? Learning from one of the most common mistakes in new book writers make. Chapter 27: Not Too Old, Not Too Late Two popular yet very unconvincing excuses for not finishing your book: "I'm too old," and "It's too late." Also: "I'm too young," and "It's too soon." Dopey reasons for quitting/not starting exposed for what they really are. Chapter 28: Writer's Conferences Armed with questions, prepared to learn, and with a finely honed sense of mission-go to your conference prepared and come home writing. Chapter 29: Angus and the Weight Lifted A terrible, crushing trip to his agent's office in New York results in a whole new and better (and ultimately published) Angus. The surprising truth about five "wasted" years of book writing. Chapter 30: In Pursuit of Publication Fear of rejection and lack of practice with rejection keep a lot of great books from ever getting finished. What rejection really is and how to use it to get more good writing done. Chapter 31: No One Tells You After your book comes out, chances are good your life will look more like it does now, and less like the idealized writer-life you're told about in newspapers and on television. Chapter 32: Author! Author! Completing a book manuscript is a dream shared by a lot of a people, and achieved by too few. You can do it. In fact-whether or not you publish it-you must write your book. Appendix: Books for Book Writers
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