Like any skill, writing has much to teach you. It isn’t just a matter of picking up a pen or turning on the laptop. There are many lessons to learn on the job. You may not always appreciate the lessons learned. There will come a time when you thank yourself for paying attention.
It might not go as smoothly as you’d like at first. That’s okay. The Muse is a good teacher. Here are a few of her valuable lessons that I have learned on the way.
- Use Microsoft Word for writing your manuscript. I love Libre Office, but headers and footers are a major pain. Word makes it ridiculously easy. Save yourself the headache. Pony up and subscribe to the software.
- One and only one copy of your work draft. Date the others if you want the older versions.
- Save a copy before messing around with headers and footers.
- Read the guidelines for publication first, especially before you start working with your images.
- If you’re going to do your own cover, do some research to see what makes a good one.
- Don’t worry about font choice when writing books for Kindle. Amazon has readability covered.
- Preview in every format possible: Kindle Preview, Calibre, your own phone/tablet, including the proof copy of your written book.
- Don’t be afraid to update an e-book or CreateSpace file. That’s the advantage you have when you self-publish.
- Keep your draft on your local drive and copy the file to Dropbox for safe keeping. A wonky Internet connection shouldn’t keep you from writing.
- Keep one notebook to record musings and ideas. Find something you like and use it. And keep it with you always.
- Don’t rely on your memory for writing ideas. Get it down on paper or on a digital platform.
- Don’t forget that completing a book is one of life’s great pleasures and accomplishments. Give yourself credit for making and sticking to the commitment.