The Week in Words (July 3)

At the Editor’s Desk

Once again, I’ve had a remarkably busy week working on Consortium stuff, but the tidbits I’ve been doling out here just haven’t been terribly enlightening. I’ve got a big reveal planned for the near future, so I’ll just stop discussing it in my newsletter until then. Here’s everything else I’ve been doing.

The Girl Who Stayed the Same

This week saw the end of part one (of five) of The Girl Who Stayed the Same. The book is over 25,000 words, and it’s going as well as I ever hoped. It’s incredibly exciting.

I’m also probably going to be running a contest on Twitter sometime this weekend for anyone interested in a free copy of How to Build an e-Book. So if you’re not already following me on Twitter, click here to get started.

The e-Book Challenge

I’ve only just started on this one, but it’s going to be in the news for the next eight weeks, probably.

It’s time to start thinking about the e-Book Challenge, though — a month-long event for bloggers interested in monetizing their blogs by building an e-Book. If it sounds vaguely familiar, it’s the third in the Blog Challenge series that has consisted of Carlos Velez’s Pre-Writing Challenge and Dave Doolin’s Blog Maintenance Challenge.

I’ve had a lot longer than either of them did to make plans, so I feel like there’s some pressure on me to get it right. Lucky for me, I’ve already got a guidebook written, in How to Build an e-Book.

Anyway, if it’s something you’re interested in, make sure to sign up for the e-Book Challenge newsletter now, because I’ll be sending out a special opportunity for all its subscribers in the next week, before opening up the general enrollment in mid-July.

On Unstressed Syllables

This week we covered two major topics: HTML styles in Google Docs, and the proper therapeutic approach to writing in drafts.

Sunday I introduced the Technical Writing series on HTML styles in Google Docs by telling the story of a simple little web-scraping script I wrote that evolved into a robust publication process for converting Google Docs into ePub e-Books.

Then on Monday I actually dug into that program, providing an illustrated tutorial on customizing paragraph styles in Google Docs. Of course, the tricky part isn’t finding the editor, it’s knowing what to do with the editor. The answer: Google.

Then Tuesday I had to answer some criticism from a submissions editor who saw Monday’s post on Twitter, but it gave me a chance to point out the difference between formatting your text, and labeling it with styles (which is the whole point of this three-week series), and I provided a quick overview on making your Google Docs styles match a publisher’s submissions policy.

On Wednesday, Courtney returned from her summer hiatus with an excellent excuse for her absence: a whirlwind of kitten food purchases, flea treatments, and frustrating discussions regarding the future fate of our furry foundling. She turned that into a phenomenal intro for the posts I had pending, discussing the need to protect, nurture, and de-worm your rough drafts.

Thursday I introduced the Creative Writing series on writing in drafts by providing a follow-up to last week’s story about my social anxiety. I’m getting it under control now, thanks to a rigorous workout schedule and my own personal marble statue metaphor.

On Friday I extended the behavioral therapy metaphor, with a glimpse into Narrative Therapy, a recognition of the desire for a perfect, healthy, balanced first draft, and a promise that when yours doesn’t turn out quite that right, you can fix even the ugliest rough drafts with a few good habits, as long as you make them deliberate.

I wrapped that up today with some blindingly obvious writing advice: you should write every day. It’s blindingly obvious in the same way “you should exercise more” is, but personal experience has taught me the powerful difference between trying to do something in pursuit of a long-term goal, and learning to recognize the immediate benefits. They can be much bigger than you think, but you can’t really gain them unless you’re already watching.

Around the Web

I do want to get back into the “Around the Web” game, but I’ve decided to ease into it. So this week I’ve only got two for you, and you’ll be able to see the common link: self-publishing and trying to turn your writing into a paying business. That’s more Consortium stuff bleeding through.