Stop Mucking About & Just Write
Sarah Bullen and Kate Emmerson With Tessa Graham
Review: Brian Joss
Experts always make it sound so easy. But behind every book that’s published there’s blood, sweat and tears, not to mention frustration and hours just sitting and staring at a blank piece of paper or a computer screen.
Bullen is an international writing coach and mentor working with authors and publishers. She has written six books; Emmerson is a multi-published author and coaches writers on confidence and how to shift blockages; while Graham is a brand-builder and has worked alongside chef Jamie Oliver and climate change activist and “ice-water swimmer” Lewis Pugh.
Write Your Book is in four parts: Plan, Write, Your Author Brand and Edit, Polish, Publish.
The book devotes quite a bit of space to the authors’ own experiences which give valuable insight into the life of a writer. And, as a bonus, into business.
By the time you have worked through the guide you will have completed first draft of your book in 100 days, mapped out your second draft, written a pitch to submit to publishers and crafted a realistic plan to build your author brand.
Some of the advice is common sense: buy a notebook which will be your indispensable companion during the writing process, and while you’re at the store buy a new pen. You should schedule a time to write that the authors call “Bum Time” which means you say glued to your chair whether it’s an hour or three hours a day to block off slots for your writing period. There is a list of reasons why you should write a book. Here are a few: you have a powerful story to share, you want to confess, to preserve your family’s legacy or to improve your ability to communicate with others.
There are heart exercises that force you to ask searching questions of yourself.
Bullen has revealed her 11 rules of writing but says there is no right or wrong way to write a book, But rule 1 is “know thy genre”, stick to a basic word editing programme, and, don’t discuss your book with anyone until your first draft is finished. The authors also give writing tasks. One of which is to write four totally different versions of the title for your book idea. They must have a title and a subtitle.
Other important advice is to find your true voice. Avoid sounding like Oprah Winfrey or Khalil Gibran. Another task is to find the right tone: write one story using humour and the second using a confessional tone. Building an author brand is essential and Graham explains how to do it.
While Write Your Book In 100 days is written in a lively style and has much advice to offer on the way to becoming a published author it comes across as one of those shopping ads on a TV channel. That said if you’re set on publishing a book of whatever genre or for whatever reason the guide will get you there. It’s not an easy road and will take loads of dedication and passion.
The authors hold writing retreats and residencies in Greece, Italy or Spain but Covid-19 has probably put a stop to that for now. To join an online mentorship go to https://www.thewritingroom.co.za/mastermind.html or for a pitch to a publisher go to https://www.thewritingroom.co.za/pitchtopublishedbootcamp.html