How I Wrote My Book: A Brief Non-Prescriptive Essay

First, why I write. That’s easy. Difficult as it is, it amuses me, and if every once in a while I produce something original and consequential, then I’m happy to think that I still have a serviceable mind.

How I write is harder to describe because I’m an exceedingly messy writer. Setting aside a certain period of time in a special place to turn out so many words until I meet a goal doesn’t work for me. I don’t use notes or outlines or novel writing software. I don’t pay attention to tips and recipes of writing coaches or best selling authors or master classes or writing magazines or blogs devoted to writing. Maybe I should, but I don’t.

I composed my book with three tools: my brain, LibreOffice Writer, and a thesaurus. I began with vague ideas and wrote down whatever came into my mind about them. And then I rewrote and rewrote until I thought I’d expressed myself as simply and clearly as possible. At that point, if my writing had been a person, it resembled a tousled, groggy guy who’d just rolled out of bed after a questionable night on the town. So, I ‘d give it a rest and come back when I felt moved to write and rewrite some more, revision after revision, ruthlessly cutting out anything I thought was crap, knitting sentences into paragraphs into chapters into my book, editing on the fly, until I’d completed a passable draft.  Was I nearly done then? Oh, heck no. I’d produced my first and very rough draft. And so it went, until much later it was time for a final edit, the painstaking combing out of all the fleas which I’d missed so far. As you might expect, I continued to revise while checking punctuation, spelling, and grammar. It took years before I was satisfied that Not Even Light was fit for publication.

This is how I wrote Not Even Light and how I compose posts for this blog. Writing does not come easy for me, and I hope that I’ve given you some encouragement if your modus operandi resembles mine. Keep at it and good luck!

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