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Books,Jo's World,Wine

Today Is Wine-Blog’s 6th Anniversary + Thinking of Writing a Wine Book in 2012? Finish Your Book!

How I know this is because today, December 29, 2011, is my sixth anniversary of wine blogging.

Before this wine blog, I had 14 years in the wine business, studying and writing about the wine business; at first for my employers, and then for our Diaz Communications clients. (Math: I’m astounded that I’ve had nearly 7,000 days of wine and roses, before starting this blogging journal.)

I write mostly on the weekends for my blog; during the week, all I’m doing is writing about wine for my clients, because that’s my day job.

[I think that I may need to write a romance novel soon…]

Today, I’m going to focus on having you all think about your own writing experiences, while I dream about being in the tropics. (Can you relate?)

Authors Karen Hodges Miller and Lorette Pruden, Ph.D. have finished their book, entitled, Finish Your Book.

  • Karen Hodges is the founder and publisher of Open Door Publications, LLC. She specializes in helping authors take their ideas and turn them into finished, published books.
  • Lorette Pruden is a chemical engineer turned entrepreneur. She leads business growth teams through Team Nimbus NJ, where she works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and other professionals to consult, coach, train, and inspire their clients.

A survey cited by Karen and Lorette cite a recent survey, which shows that over 80 percent of Americans would like to write a book – but most never will. I’m betting that this number is true to the wine industry in general, too.

They also offer 10 Tips to Finishing Your Book in 2012! I’ve been given permission to reprint those 10 Tips, and I’m dong it, because you potential book authors exist.

Think you don’t have that time? Here are a few tried and true techniques to help you, and may you find the inspiration and resources to go forward in 2012!

  1. Develop Your Vision.
    • Why do you want to write a book? What do you want your book to do for you? There are as many possible answers to these questions as there are books and authors. You may want your book to inspire others, to help you build a business, to build your reputation as a writer, or all of the above. There is no wrong answer, only your answer.
  2. Don’t Wait for Inspiration.
    • How often have you said, “I’ll start writing my book when …” You are waiting for that special moment when time, energy and inspiration all come together. It may be when your kids are in school, the week they are in camp, or when you quit your job. But somehow, whenever those moments do arrive, something else always fills your time. There are clothes to wash, appointments to make, meetings to attend, and a host of other excuses. But if you are going to finish your book you must schedule regular writing time every week – and then make that time sacred.
  3. Write About Your Passion.
    • If you are not passionate about the subject of your book you are not going to want to spend the time needed to write it. Writing is hard work. There are times when you will have to give up evenings or weekends or Saturday afternoons to work on your book. Just because dozens of people have told you that you ought to write a book on a certain subject, doesn’t mean you should. If you don’t love it, find another topic!
  4. Set Your Goals.
    • A book is a big project. You can’t finish your book in one afternoon, or even one month. So set some goals for yourself. “At the end of one month I will have completed my outline.” “I will write one chapter per week.” “I will finish my books in six months.” Make sure your goals are realistic – then stick to them
  5. Give Yourself Rewards.
    • Now that you’ve set your goals, reward yourself when you accomplish them. It works for your kids, why shouldn’t it work for you? Set small rewards for small goals – a relaxing cup of tea for finishing 1,000 words, for example. Set larger rewards for larger goals – a night of fun with your favorite video, popcorn and maybe some friends to share it, for completing a chapter. And don’t forget to set a really nice reward for actually finishing your book!
  6. Manage Priorities, Not Time.
    • Make a list of your priorities, then divide these tasks into four categories: Urgent and Important, Urgent and Unimportant, Not Urgent and Important, Not Urgent and Unimportant. For example, a ringing phone urgently pleads for your attention, but is often unimportant. The two hours you block twice a week to work on your book are Important but Not Urgent, so it’s easy to let something else slide into that time slot. How much of your time is spent on Urgent but Unimportant activities? Using this quadrant will help you see just how you are using your time.
  7. Block Your Time.
    • Now that you know what your most important priorities are, take out your calendar and start blocking in times. Block out the time spent on running errands, attending meetings, taking kids to activities. What time is left? Can you find two or three two-hour periods each week to work on your book? Once you’ve blocked them, make them sacrosanct. Only real emergencies should keep you from working on your book in those time periods.
  8. Find the Right Place to Write.
    • Writing takes concentration. You really cannot do your best work in the middle of the family room with the TV blaring and kids running around. Find a quiet corner where you can keep your work organized and easily accessible. Even if you live in a small apartment, make yourself a comfy corner where you can work without distraction.
  9. Find an Accountability Partner.
    • An accountability partner is someone who supports/nudges/nags you into completing a difficult project. Accountability partners can be used for everything from weight loss and exercise to writing your book. The relationship works best if each person has the opportunity to be both the nagged and the nagger. If the deal is only one way, it can devolve into something uncomfortably like the relationship between a parent and teenager – and that’s a good way to ruin a friendship. Both people don’t have to be working on the same thing, although that can be helpful. Just make sure that you and your partner have clear rules about the structure and type of nagging that will occur.
  10. Why projects fail is failure to start.
    • What’s the number one reason why projects fail? Failure to start. So pick a topic. Pick a time. Pick a place. Pick up a pencil. Pick out a file name for your new document. And write.

Good luck with your book, and once it’s written, please let me know. I’ll list it on this blog.


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8 Responses to “Today Is Wine-Blog’s 6th Anniversary + Thinking of Writing a Wine Book in 2012? Finish Your Book!”

  1. Jo,

    This is a great post. Many people are passionate about one thing or several things. I love food and wine, and would love to write a book focusing on wine and food pairings. So, there is no time like the here and now! Thanks for sharing those great tips. You are right, as well as the two authors; you have to have passion to do something as serious as a book.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Lorrie,

    Agreed, and if anyone can do it, it’s you!

  3. Andrea says:

    I’ve been working on a book for many years. The first draft was finished three years ago, and I’ve been reluctant to work on the second draft. (Selective readers have already given me feedback.) Thank you for the swift kick in the a** that I needed. I especially like tip #6.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Good for you, Andrea.

    On Facebook, I posted this entry, and now I’m thinking that it might be time for a romance novel, given the feedback I’ve been getting. I’m wondering if my joke may be legit! You finish yours, and I’ll be thinking about mine.

  5. Good post, Jo. Only problem with writing a book is that it’s nearly impossible to get one published these days! Self-publishing is all the rage, but it’s difficult, and even then, you have to publicize it on your own. And even if you have a reputable publisher (as I did with my two books), they don’t make very much money, if any. So good luck to all those budding authors out there!

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Honestly, Steve, I think that’s why I’ve just been blogging… A marketing person writes all day, and gets paid for it as a vocation. Blogging, as an avocation; and the pay is called, “freedom.”

  7. Thanks Jo. That means a lot to me!

  8. Lorette Pruden says:

    Hi, Jo, I just came across this blog post for people who are ‘not quite finished’ writing their book! Thanks for the shout out, and you’ve summarized the message that Karen Hodges Miller and I wanted to get across. We hope many of your readers are or are soon to be authors.

    One response I would make to Steve is that self-publishing is less and less difficult. Working with an independent book publisher is a much better option, though, because as a new author, you don’t know what you don’t know about publishing, and they do. And, of course, then there is marketing and selling the book! Karen’s book, Sell Your Book, can help out there.

    But a bigger point is that a book can be a real foundation for other things you want to do–speak, consult, get more readers for your blog, go on TV, bring in new customers and clients….the list goes on. So think bigger than book sales, find your writing time, and just do it. I followed my own advice and published my second book this year. You can too!

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