Yesterday at the Ikea furniture store cafe and restaurant, I had a great conversation with my husband about wanting to write a book and what books the world was lacking vs what my interests were.
When my husband left to pick up my daughter from Small Land downstairs I came to the conclusion that if I ever get abandoned by my family, divorced or face a significant death I want to be told at the Ikea cafe and restaurant because for whatever reason it’s very calming for me, it’s kind of creative and kind of generic, kind of public but kind of intimate, it’s interesting and industrial at the same time, maybe like a public school in a way.
But while I was talking with my husband about books I came up with the idea I want to try for my first “book”. Technically I finished my first book already when I learned how to make ebooks via Google slides after watching this 2 minute video from Ellen Cordeiro. Or perhaps when I wrote a biography about Abraham Lincoln in third grade. You may think it’s silly, but it helps to have this longer book, not be my first book. Something about the first book creates pressure, if I think of it as my third book than that’s not so bad.
I’m not really interested in publishing right now, maybe someday I will be, but I think creating an ebook, which I now know how to do and uploading to the openlibrary.org meets my personal needs and aspirations.
To me it’s about the world being able to access and read my book if they want to, not about finance, not about fame, not about numbers of people who don’t want to read the book reading it from pity or hype.
Maybe someday things will be different, but that’s the place I’m in right now.
So, I didn’t miss my writing yesterday, I just switched from writing an article to doing the work on the book. I did a complete first outline. Not a lot of words, but it was well worth.
I was telling my husband there are so many new kinds of books now, books with a lot of humor, actually Shakespeare was pretty humorous, but it became very outdated for most readers and even if it wasn’t then there is room for more, like Sarah Knight. Mark Manson is interesting in the way he writes about whatever combination of ideas that he wants to and it works, like a dinner party of philosophy. Rereading the Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, I can see a ton of ideas that moved onward into recent movies and books. When I was a child I thought that the writer had a burden to make something new, completely new, now as an adult I see a writer more like a cook. If you cook eggs, they are always different, your best job, yes isn’t plagiarism, but it doesn’t need to depart from all other cooked eggs of the past, eggs can be scrambled, Mexican style with onion and tomato, or become a cookie or a flan. It isn’t impossible to write something completely different like Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland, but nor is it required to do something good.
Since there are so many billions of people now and in the future, a particular style of writing may be the right way to connect with a reader.
I’ve heard powerful messages again and again in my life, that fell on deaf ears, I’m not sure if the messages got through because the voice of the author was the right match for me or because the energy of the author came though to my heart or because at the right time, when the student is ready the teacher appears, but for whatever reason I think there does exist plenty of space to tell more similar stories and breathe life into the beloved ideas in new ways like “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” brings one of Mr. Roger’s puppets (Daniel Tiger) to life in a new generation.
I was talking to my husband yesterday about Jerry Jenkins who has to my knowledge 199 books (16 best sellers). I’m sure he is working on the 200th. I like that author, he is Christian but in a non-dogmatic way. He was the first writer I ever read who wrote about their own religion as a kind of thought experiment vs as set in concrete with no room for error or descent.
I attended one of his seminars and he said if you had young children or adult family members to care for that was wonderful and your priority and therefore you may not be able to write without feeling guilty.
Jerry worked a traditional job, came home, saw his kids until they fell asleep, which is great. But me, as a stay at home mom, I’m with these kids from the moment I wake up to the moment they go to sleep with 0-1 hours of help at night from my husband. It’s a different situation, it’s not only good, but nearly essential for me to get a mental break, I can do that with or without my husband by creating independent play that is safe and rewarding for my kids.
I do believe what Jerry Jenkins said was true for him in his situation, but it is not true for me in my situation.
But I think that is when I realized that I couldn’t follow Immanuel Kant’s writing process, Jerry Jenkins writing process, Steven King’s writing process ext. But reading about them has helped me brainstorm how my process could possible work.
One thing Jerry Jenkins talked about was having a message, he says his books start with an idea he wants to communicate, Steven King talks about feeling like he is channeling the idea from within the world of the story, but both discus starting with the idea and allowing it to unfold.
I’m not sure if it has to be done that way, but for the past few weeks I was waiting for an idea to stand out from the crowd of my mind so I could try.
Yesterday I picked one, inspired by Milo and the Magical Stones (Abenteuer von Mats), Marcus Pfister. That was a children’s book my husband read to my daughter on vacation at the library. It had a split ending, you could pick a sad or happy ending and both were beautifully done and it worked.
In the 1990s kids books were trying the multiple ending idea for books, but it was poorly executed in my opinion, it felt like the route you picked didn’t matter because all routes met up later.
I don’t really know if there is fate, if our choices do matter or don’t matter, or sometimes matter.
But since I don’t know, and I know that I don’t know, I choose to believe some of our choices do matter.
So as I write my book the message to this book is the idea that the choices we make do matter and that we affect each other in profound ways, that as humans we are not islands (or if we are islands we are interconnected ones).
Three posts inspired the book I’m about to write:
They all touched something in me that brought to life a part of me, even though obviously their experiences are not my experiences.
Maybe that’s something other people go through all the time, when they watch movies they cry with the sad scenes or laugh with the funny scenes, but not me, I’m not autistic (no offense to those people, but sometimes if I don’t feel exactly how other people react others try to label me that way incorrectly kind of like if you don’t find a guy attractive he may think you are a lesbian, my husband thinks something is abnormal about my brain development if I don’t laugh at his bullying his coworker jokes…), sometimes I can laugh at jokes (I’ve been finding Bill Burr very funny, though not in complete agreement with my particular ethics). But for me, it’s not everyday I feel that connection with others, it’s not every article, but in these three stories I feel like, “that’s our story,” obviously theirs, less obviously mine, but even more so “ours” ours as a people, ours as humans. Sometimes a sad story, sometimes a courageous story, sometimes a work in progress, but a “human” story, a story of flaws and redemption, in everyday heros.
The three quotes that inspire this book are:
“If nobody speaks of remarkable things, how can they be called remarkable?”Jon McGregor
“Don’t ask for an easy life, ask for the strength to deal with a hard one.”– Bruce Lee
“When you know better do better.”– Maya Angelou
The book may be short or long, I haven’t determined that but it will branch into 3 levels, so it will have three books in it.
I used Google Keep notes, like post it notes on computers and phones, to keep my book notes, that way they don’t get lost. When the note gets really long it converts itself to a document via Google Docs, but that doesn’t happen much to me. Using bitmoji images on the top let me know what the notes are as do the color options.
I use Google Keep, which is free to share our shopping list between my husband and I, brainstorm school material, keep track of a rough hourly agenda, save quotes that inspire me, keep a list of how I do my stoic meditations and gratitude journaling, remember my values (it’s not that easy as they change), and for the first time in a long time store book ideas.
You can pin important notes to a top row, normal notes on a second level and achieved notes will be unseen, but find-able. It’s better than paper notes because it doesn’t get lost, it is shareable, and searchable. It’s something that I couldn’t do without, yes I could do it differently, but I couldn’t live my best life without notes to help me keep track of my thoughts, because having my thoughts in words gives me torque to control them (ie gratitude rather than “too much” negativity – some is healthy), writing cash spending to add to the automatic tracking that works for credit and debit ext.