Search

Follow STTBooks on Twitter

Our Author's Guide

view on Amazon.com

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « The Art of Storytelling | Main | Who Should Print or Publish Your Memoir or Family History Book? »
    Sunday
    Jan012012

    A New Year’s Insight

    Recently, I was asked to write an article for a publisher’s newsletter. The topic was “What inspires you each day?” Each day? I’m sorry, but I cannot be inspired every day. However, I can be motivated, even resolved, to work at my long-term goals every day. I am good at New Year’s Resolutions. Those of you who want to write and publish a book need to stick to your resolutions, too. It is good work, but it surely won’t get done in a day.

    I think “inspiration” is often misunderstood. In popular culture, inspiration is a rare lightning strike, and creative people seem to discover or “channel” their most brilliant work in those moments of inspiration. Me, I come from the other school of thought, that old 98% perspiration theory. My attitude toward work is a more earthly, manageable and mechanical phenomenon. Every day, I sit down and get to work, whether I feel inspired or not.  Despite my pragmatism, my daily work can be very artful and creative.

    I have always been an avid reader, and I studied English in school because I wanted to get paid to read and write. I quickly recognized that I was different from the other writers. I don’t imagine I “have a novel in me”, and I don’t have one big idea or vision I feel driven to share with the world. (Although I do have lots of little ones – do they count?)  Instead, my joy in reading, and my joy in writing, has to do with deconstruction. People build books, I take them apart. I love analysis, particularly of text and ideas, and that has made me well suited to be an editor.

     (Photo courtesy of Larry Johnson, Creative Commons)

    Analyzing a book is fun, but even more fun is imagining the better book it might be. It changes the way I read and think about books. It also leads me to help others, to explain these better ways of writing. I get to have wonderful, specific, right down to the paragraph /theme /setting conversations with writers who are still in the process of revision. I love that moment when someone says, “OH! So if I fix that, it will change everything!” And they dash off to rewrite, because their book will be so much better.

    I do both editing and book design, and they both have their pleasures and challenges. But if I had to say which is most rewarding, it is that moment of enlightenment that someone gets to experience because of my rather uninspired, developed over a lifetime, not just in a day, editing skills. That’s the way progress is really made – new knowledge springs from the old, established knowledge.

    Occasionally, you will have that “Aha!” moment, and you will get to sprint ahead because you’re inspired. That’s a real pleasure. For today, New Year’s Day, I invite you to recognize and give a nod of respect to your inner turtle, that slow-moving-toward-the finish-line part of yourself that gets the big jobs done. And may you get your big jobs done this year. Best wishes for 2012, -Nan

    PS - What are you inspired to acheive this year? Let us know!

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Post:
     
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>