Famous Writing Career Advice Plus 5 Essential Tools and a Bonus

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Power up your writing career!

Sometimes picking up that pen or beginning to tap the keyboard is a Herculean task.  Why do we do it? Toni Morrison said she wrote her first book because she couldn’t find books on what she wanted and needed to read about. That’s one outstanding reason for you to write a book, whether you do it as a ghostwriter or as an author on your own. Let’s consider other famous author motivations, then I’ll gift you with five valuable writing tools.

Toni Morrison said in many an interview, “A writer is either compelled to write or not. And if I waited for inspiration I wouldn’t really be a writer.”

In a digital class I took recently, I listened to her say she felt terribly depressed after she finished her first book. She felt like she had no purpose, nothing to do. Then one day, on a subway headed to work, she says she felt the glimmer of a snippet of an idea for a book. Suddenly, the sun came out. She felt motivated, purposeful, happy.

Have you felt that passionately about your need to write?

Norman Mailer reflected on writers who write because they’re just, well, AWESOME at it. Mailer said he got a wonderful sense of audience from writing classes—people reading and listening to his work, mostly without feeling inhibited about commenting. Mailer  explained that such an environment

“…chops down that terribly unstable vanity that young writers have, you know, where they think, ‘I’m a great writer,’ and at the same time they can’t take a single criticism. Writing courses are good for that. They weather you. It’s a little bit like a kid who wants to play varsity football but never tries out for the team. So you go to that writing class and you get toughened up…”

I love Peter S. Beagle’s take on getting down to the job.

“There’s a phrase, ‘sitzfleisch’ … just plain sitting on your ass and getting it done. Just showing up for work. My uncle Raphael was a painter, and he used to say, ‘If ‘the muse is late for work, start without her.’ You have to be there. You have to be there, and do it, and grind it out, even when it is grinding and you know you’re probably going to rewrite all this tomorrow.”

If I remember my limited German, “sitzfleisch” is “sitting the flesh.”

That’s all the motivation I have for you today. So I’ll give you some of my favorite tools that are as helpful when you’re ghostwriting a book for a client as they are when you’re struggling to write your book or trying to figure out how to get that brilliant idea into a book, doing whatever is necessary.

Five Must-Have Tools for Serious Ghostwriters, Authors, and Writers

EFA Editorial Rates — Of interest to ghosts, editors of every ilk, and other writing services providers. Everything you wanted to know about what to charge for what you do.

MS Word Tips and Tricks — A 20-minute self-paced course on formatting your writing with Word and a cheat sheet to download.

BISAC codes — Print publishers traditionally categorize books by subject, and here are the subjects they use. Amazon.com’s and other digital book seller sites’ categories are becoming as important as these, and possibly more specific.

Sci fi author Piers Anthony’s compendium of publishers, with comments, and a list of author service providers. Written from Anthony’s strictly personal bias and his desire to help writers move forward. He updates this periodically and it has a wealth of information.

Open Culture’s list of intelligent YouTube channels, and no, that’s not an oxymoron.

The Bonus

Someone recently pointed me toward  ReadCheaply. It refers users to sites with great ebook deals. I’ve only used it once or twice, since I’m always way behind in my reading list. Nice resource for keeping your ereader packed with choices.


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2 Responses to “Famous Writing Career Advice Plus 5 Essential Tools and a Bonus”

  1. I “co-wrote” a book for almost the same reason as Toni Morrison. I kept hearing contradictory opinions spouted out as fact to leaders and managers. And since I knew that they couldn’t all be right, I set out to find out what was really going on. It turned out that they were all wrong, and I ended up with a book that explored a topic that no one else had done. It’s still a great feeling when I think about it.

  2. Thanks for the input, Bruce. Your process is an outstanding way to put valuable information in front of constituents. May we have a link to your book or your author page?