12 Things I Learned Writing My First Book

When I began writing this book over one year ago, I knew I needed to learn a lot about my new profession.



Here are 12 things that I learned:

  1. I write in the passive voice. That means the subject receives the action of the verb. For example, the painting was sold to someone who later donated it to the college. The active voice reads like this: Someone bought the painting and later donated it to the college. The subject performs the action. I need to be more active! (leave a comment if you get the irony of that last sentence).
  2. I use adverbs rather than describing the action. Instead of writing, “I sat quietly at the dinner table.” I can write, “I sat at the dinner table lost in my thoughts.” The first sentence is correct, but the second communicates why I sat there quietly.
  3. I repeat words and thoughts. I hope it is not because I am getting forgetful! A thesaurus and a good writing tool like Scrivner helps avoid this.
  4. I use too many words to communicate what I want to say. Most professional writers recommend saying what you want to say with the least amount of words. That is all I will say about that.
  5. The English language is complex. No wonder I wrote in the passive voice, used too many adverbs, repeated myself, and used too many words! I also learned that people have different rules of grammar. As more people proofread or edited my manuscript, they made contrasting suggestions.
  6.  Strive for efficiency, not perfection. I learned I can’t write a perfect book no matter how many times I revise it. I finished this week with my last round of revisions. I felt like I was pulling on a thread of clothing. If I kept pulling I would never find the end.
  7. The way to write better is to write more. I need to write every day. Just like anything, the more you do it the better you get. Even though I finished this book, I began outlining some other books. I also blog twice a week, if you did not know.
  8. I am not offended by other’s critique or editing. I asked five people to proofread and hired one editor. How did I respond to their critique? They gave me a lot, I mean a lot, of feedback. I even got an email yesterday about my blog from Tuesday. Everyone begins with, “I don’t mean to critique your work, but…” I appreciate the critique and correction—about as much as a visit to the dentist. No, I do appreciate it. It helps me write better.
  9. I like to write. Good thing since I chose this new profession.
  10. I am in business for myself. I like my boss. I pick my schedule, priorities, and workplace. I also make the final decisions. This is good and bad, but most of the time it is good.
  11. It is up to me to market my book. I learned that even traditional publishers expect authors to market their own book. Authors need strong platforms and networks in place to help get the word out about their book. Want to help me get the word out about my book? Invite your friends to like my Facebook Fan page and subscribe to my blog via email.
  12. Today’s publishing world is complex. Some say traditional publishing is the only way to go. Others say that self-publishing is the wave of the future. I did choose to self-publish, but even within that decision there are a lot of options.

I look forward to applying all this knowledge to my next book!

Want to know more about what I have learned? Ask in the comment section.

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “12 Things I Learned Writing My First Book

    • Thank you! I will have an pre-order option on my website soon for softcover and hardback books. An ebook version will be available at the release.
      Thanks for stopping by.