Voni B. Grimes did it. How about you? 10 tips to write a book-length project
In my York Sunday News column for Nov. 5, I’m telling the story of Voni B. Grimes, as he sets out write his memoirs.
As part of that column, I put together a list of tips for those undertaking large writing projects.
Whether you’re writing your autobiography, family history or some other multi-thousand word treatise, these suggestions might be helpful:
1. Write your story in chronological order. Simply tell your story.
2. Divide up your project into logical periods or topics, which you might turn into chapters. They do not have to be the same length. Also, developing a working title helps focus your writing.
3. If you want to get your work to a wider market, don’t get frustrated if you can’t find a publisher. Indeed, start off with the idea that you probably will have to self-publish and then try to improve on that. The closer you can get to handing your computer-typeset manuscript to the printer so it can be placed as-is on the press — camera-ready, as it’s called — the less you’ll pay for the project.
4. Consider giving your printed project as holiday gifts and use the savings otherwise spent on gifts to pay the printer.
5. If you are writing your memoirs, don’t underrate the value of telling your story. Use of your work can be wide-ranging, from gifts for your family to fodder for historians. Numbers sold or distributed don’t have to be high. If you get into the hands of the right person, it’s worth the effort.
6. Consider publishing your project on the Web. You can create your own Web page at no cost or low cost. This will expose your work to a broader audience and make you a published author.
7. If you’re not a writer, relate your material to someone who is so gifted.
8. Try to write a little bit every day. If you even write a paragraph a day, you’ll have several chapters done in a year. In three years, your work will be finished.
9. It’s never too late to start. In fact, the older you are, the better perspective you’ll have on your topic.
10. Realize that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. Again, if it’s memoirs you’re writing, it’s worth doing irrespective of your public accomplishments.