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Authorized



How to ignore everyone and write a book in 6 steps.


  1. Get AUTHORIZED tattooed on your arm.

  2. Clean your desk eleventy-thousand-hundred times.

  3. Move to several different states or countries.

  4. Keep an organized journal and repository of all inspiration and notes.

  5. Cultivate tricks to "create" focused blocks of time – anywhere.

  6. Start.


Okay, okay... Only 4 of these are real advice.


I mean, I absolutely DID all of them (yes, even the tattoo), but I don't necessarily suggest you follow my footsteps... unless you want to lead a very interesting but certainly terrifying life of creative exploration, replete with nomadism, high risks, and having to learn and relearn everything all the time forever to stay fresh.


I digress.


And, that said... I have self-published quite a bit of creative work. Am I currently famous? No. Am I rich? Nope. Am I so, so, so happy to have hit publish. YES!


That's YES! like a Bridgerton debutante getting proposed to by "the one" level YES.


Don't you want to feel that kind of YES?


So...


I don't know who needs to hear this today, but I'm writing this post to tell you in no uncertain terms:


YOU ARE ALREADY AUTHORIZED TO WRITE A BOOK.


Right now.

Today.

Where you are sitting.

Now and forever.


Here's the truth about all these next things:


You don't have a degree? Unimportant.


You've never written a book before? Neither did any other author... until they did.


Uncle Ricky or that weird counselor from school told you some garbage that shot your self-esteem through the floor? They aren't thinking about you right now.


No one else is thinking about this.


It will drive YOU crazy in the brain, though, until you do something about it!


Right?


Right.


So, how will you actually get started, you author, you?


  1. Stop reading this and go write one page this second. On a napkin if you must.

  2. Ideally, you haven't returned to this post because you're deep in No. 1 so hard right now that you completely forgot about this post.... but if you're still reading: Collect together all the materials, ideas, notes, and started pages for your book somewhere that you can find them. Label it, and commit to it. Here are ones I've actually used myself:

    1. Day One - A digital journal featuring tagging and categories, calendar, images, attachments, voice memos, and all manner of writing.

    2. Evernote - Another popular digital journal that features tagging and categories, calendar, images, attachments, plus all the writing. I prefer Day One, but I used Evernote and it was indeed robust.

    3. Airtable - A database cloud app with myriad hook other apps to it... This is great for organizing world building, chapters, characters, themes. It even has some templates for just that.

    4. Computer, Tablet, Phone - It's completely possible to use simple text documents, and the built-in folder structure in whatever device you have to save all your work in one place. It helps to start with one big folder with your working title as the name, and make a few folders for things like characters, inspiration, research, snippets. Then either organize one document with all your chapters in it, or make a folder for each chapter and combine them later. Most standard word processors have a function for versions and notes.

  3. Choose ONE tool for actually assembling the book. It can be the same or separate from the one you used to organize. Here the ones I specifically use:

    1. Pages (Mac) - This is Apple's free wordprocessing tool. I start with a template formatted for the kind of book I'm writing. Usually it has styles and margins that are nearly ready for publishing. I love the comments feature, which lets me keep notes right there in the document.

    2. Highland 2 - This is a markup editor that lets you write a variety of different formats in the versatile language of "markup"... that has a learning curve, but for some, it helps systematize writing. There are sprints, goals, and places to store, organize, and search snippets of writing.

    3. Day One - I already mentioned this, but listen... they have this awesome feature where you can create categories on the left and keep posts under that category on the right. You can literally make one category called Final Draft (or whatever) and every chapter can be a single post. Posts can be hyperlinked to others (i.e. link out a shaky passage to another post with notes for how you'll fix that in your, say, Notes category). You can print out a single post as a pdf, OR Day One offers the option to buy a bound book for any journal!!!! That means you could get a beautiful first draft manuscript straight out of your journaling app. And they offer cloud backup in addition to saving to your device. So... Just saying.

  4. Test out tricks for managing your time - here are a few:

    1. Pomodoro - a method of doing tasks in short bursts with small breaks

    2. Early Mornings - waking up when others aren't up to get that peace and writerly solitude on lock... and make writing the first thing you do each day.

    3. Calendar Blocking - set a series of meetings in your calendar "with" one of your characters or a fictional agent or publisher. Then go attend the meetings. Do not accept meetings with others during those blocks, and commit not to miss meetings.

    4. Voice Memos - Use your driving, or walks, or other downtime like laundry or cleaning time to speak your book into existence using a dictation device. Then you can either transcribe yourself, or use an app or transcription service to put those words on the page later. (This is also great for people who get blocks in front of a blank page)


And that's it!


Then you write!


I won't get into publishing and all that business here today. Because: writing first.


And if you're inclined to get that AUTHORIZED tattoo... I mean... You do you, but I did make some fun merch you can sport instead as a reminder that no one else gets to give you permission to write.






It's all you, boo! Get that novel!


Love,

Alex

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