MF 243 : Book writing midpoint check-in
Updated: Jun 22
On this episode, we do a midpoint check-in to see where you are with your book and areas to start working ahead towards. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Part 1: Funky July, frayed Macbook power cord
July was a funky month. One of the smaller but significant mishaps that occurred is that my Macbook power cord cable frayed. I’ve had my Macbook for almost 5 years and if you know me, you’ll know that I absolutely baby it. In fact, when I took it into the Apple store two years ago for an unrelated issue, the Applecare guy complimented on how new my computer looked.
So it came as a surprise when I noticed a week or two ago that my Macbook power cord was frayed at the edge. As a result, power was only sporadically going to the Macbook. While I have no problem buying a replacement, I usually try to troubleshoot the issue myself first.
I went on YouTube which I’ve noticed has replaced Wikipedia and eHow as a go-to source for “how to” information and discovered that this is a common issue. A number of videos cover basic repair suggestions with duct tape to more sophisticated techniques that require soldering and other intricate tools.
I’m not a mechanical person but I know enough to do the basics. The best videos I saw were not on repairing the cable but preventing the fraying from happening in the first place. Since Macbook power cords are designed to wrap around the power box, over time this causes stress to the cable ends. As a result, the cable gets worn and can fray. Many of the videos suggested using electrical tape to reinforce the cable. But the most clever solution I saw was to take the spring coil from a clicker pen and wrap it around the cable to reinforce it. Both solutions are great for preventative care but unfortunately, didn’t resolve my issue. It looks like I’ll have to get a new power cord but now I’m more mindful of preventative care.
How about you? What weird mishaps and clever solutions did you discover in July?
Part 2: Midpoint check-in
[NOTE: the books mentioned in this episode are out of print. For more, check out episode 388.]
We’ve been talking a lot about writing your first book over the past several months. So now might be a good idea to a midpoint check-in with a task list. Many of you are still in the writing or even the ideation stage so I don’t expect you to be following the podcast in real-time. However, the episodes will serve as a reference as you hit certain benchmarks with your book.
A good time to use this checkpoint is when you are nearing the end of your manuscript’s first written draft or if you’re in the first rewrite and self-edit but have not yet retained a professional editor for your work. Let’s cover a few checkpoints.
By now your book shouldn’t be this vague or an amorphous blob of text. Rather, it should be methodically organized like building blocks: folders, documents, sections, and chapters. Your guidepost or compass is BME or beginning-middle-end.
Photos and Cover Art
As you’re completing your manuscript or even while you’re still in the drafting phase, you should be thinking about whether photos will come into play. If you need photos from third parties, start having those conversations and getting those permissions early. Similarly, have you started conceptualizing your cover and title?
As you complete your manuscript and self-edit, it’s time to think about getting a professional editor to polish your manuscript for publication. Have you spoken to an editor or retained one? Do you know his or her workflow, expectations, and time frame? If you need a great editor, I highly recommend you book an appointment to speak with Megan.
Have you reached out to someone to write your Foreword? Who will you dedicate your book to? Also, start thinking about whether your book needs a table of contents.
This will come into play as you’re finishing your book and preparing for publication but it may be a good idea to start thinking about who you need to thank. This will include people who contributed to your book and those who supported you along the way. Also, start thinking about your author bio and headshot.
Go through the checklist and see where you are and look ahead to the pieces that you need to start working on.
[NOTE: the books mentioned in this episode and in the book writing series are out of print. I am leaving these episodes mostly as is and strictly for informational and instructional purposes only. I have retracted my story from the book discussed in this episode and its sequel with full reservation of my copyright. For more, check out episode 388.]
What I’m reading
Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the 80s changed Hollywood Forever by Nick de Semlyen (****): a fascinating look at some of the great comedians from the 70s and 80s that got their start on variety shows like SNL and SCTV, including Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Steve Martin, The book is filled with interesting stories, anecdotes, and interviews with many of the comedians themselves along with the people who knew them best. Highly recommend.
Scrivener (available for Mac, Win, IOS) is a book writing program that auto formats for self-publishing on Amazon’s KDP and other platforms. It’s a great tool with rich features that allow co-writers to collaborate through Dropbox. Scrivener has a bit of a learning curve but I’ve been a fan since 2017 and have talked to many authors who use it as their go-to. If you’re interested in Scrivener, you can use the coupon code MOVINGFORWARD to get 20% off your purchase (for Mac or Win). It’s a one-time license fee and available for Mac, Win, IOS.
[Note: this section contains affiliate links and coupon codes for which the author may receive some compensation.]
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