Writing a Book

hand writingLet’s talk “writing a book” for a few minutes. I’ve written around twenty books in my life. Nothing huge about that. Isaac Asimov, one of my scifi heroes wrote something like 500 books in his lifetime.

But for someone who aspires to write their first book, my 20 manuscripts must seem like a dream. That’s one of the factors I must guard against – downplaying my knowledge and assuming others know what I know. In order for me to help people get their books written, I must identify what holds them back and what keeps them from loving the process.

Yes, there are a number of universal mindsets that must be addressed like their internal judge and critic. We all possess them. Those voices in our heads which handcuff us and deter us from our higher potentials. That’s why I have adopted the “book coach” identifier. Anyone may play basketball, but how do they succeed in getting out every day and doing the things necessary to achieve their goal?

The same is true for a book. Anyone may write a book, but how do they succeed in getting up every day and doing the things necessary to achieve their goal? In basketball, there are quite a number of fundamental things needed to get the basics of playing the game down so that you may move one to higher levels of play. In writing, there are quite a number of fundamental things needed to get the basics of pulling a book out of your brain so that you may then have a product you may take to higher levels.

I taught classes for years on “How to Write Your Book in 30 Days.” I still teach it, but now as a one-on-one coaching format. I’ve found being able to tailor the class or “workshop” to the individual is much more beneficial for the writer. I’ve helped over 100 people get their books written, many of them now with multiple books. Transitioning to a “consultant” format has had its challenges, but now I’m comfortable with new “delivery system” so to speak.

Writing a book does not have to be some huge monstrosity of trial and struggle. In fact, writing a book should be joyful, exciting, engaging, and rewarding. That’s what I work to achieve with my clients – not only the ability to get the work done but to love the process as you progress. If you desire to write a book and you need help, here’s my webpage – Michael Ray King.


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I’ll Work Hard to Not Make This About Death…

Michael Ray King 300dpiLife cycles. We’re born. We live. We die.

Depending on who you speak with, we do or do not have any say in our birth. Depending on who you talk to, we do or do not have any say on when we die or that our “worldly” death is “real” or “the end.” I’m not going to make a call on either of those, mainly because my view is just as viable as anyone else’s.

That in-between part, though, is something to deal with. Imogene Coon died a couple years ago. I just learned of this recently. I am saddened as I remember her as a vibrant 6th-grade teacher at Dunbar Elementary School. She was wise, kind, and an excellent teacher. At twelve years old I never dreamed I would be thinking of her 46 years later, much less that she would be dead.

Our lives intersected for that one year. That was it. But now, in a manner of thinking, they’ve intersected again. I wonder what went on in her life. I wonder what joys and sorrows passed through her heart. I wonder if her years of teaching were rewarding. Yes, I do wonder if she remembered me at any point, or was I lost in the hundreds and hundreds of students who passed through her classrooms.

As the title states, I’ll work hard to not make this about death. But what I will do is make this about time and accomplishment. No matter what perspective you have on birth and death, while in this mortal body, we own expiration dates. The question becomes, in my mind, what are we to do? What am I to do?

This morning I picked a book up off my bookcase a began reading. This is a book I have not read in 50 years. Yes, that places me in about the 2nd or 3rd grade. The book was written in 1936. I remember adoring this book as a child. Something about the stories in it captured me and planted seeds of the joys of reading in my soul. Somehow the book survived a half century of moves and opportunities to be destroyed or lost by my own children growing up.

I realized this morning that none of my children ever got the chance to read it. I wonder if they would have loved it as I did. I am saddened they missed the opportunity. I’ve read the first 51 pages and I am enjoying the experience once again.

This is a writer’s blog, and yes, I am getting to my point. A good number of my teachers and even classmates are no longer with us in this life, at least in the tangible, mortal bodies. Did all these people whom I cared for and intersected with, accomplish their goals? Did they keep striving throughout their lives? Did illness rob them of their final years? Were they satisfied with their scope of accomplishments or were there many things left undone.

I’m sure my good friend Humberto, who died young in his thirties, did not accomplish all he set out to do. I look at my life, and if I live to be 100, I could never accomplish what I desire to accomplish. This can cause debilitation. Depression. Demotivation. A sense of hopelessness.

What I personally do with what time remains in my life I own. No one else. I either step up and make things happen, or I waste away in apathy and slothfulness and underachieve. Does this matter to the world? Absolutely not. 100 years from now, no one will care. Hell, I likely will not be mentioned or thought of again on planet earth. I will be lost among the uncounted humans who lived and died in the century after my death.

But this does matter to me. And possibly some of the folks around me with intersecting lives. Imogene Coon impacted me all those years ago. So did my friend Humberto and so many others. So did Professor Pat Urbas who encouraged me to take on “writing as a vocation” in 1979. I cannot discount the fact that I am intersecting with people daily. As do you.

What are we passing on, and are we actually helping people? How much of what I desire to accomplish in the days remaining me will I actually pursue?

My view stands that we each own a story. Most likely many stories. Many of us get to the place where we desire to pull these stories out from within and share with the world. I know I like to think of writing as somewhat of a form of immortality. This most likely will not happen in the sense that 100 years from now no one will even know I existed, but the key factor for me is that I know, and I have something to say.

Fortunately, I am not alone in this view. Countless millions desire the same. Should you be one of those people, take heart. You will most likely reach a point where you realize you will never be able to accomplish everything in life you desire. This is no cause to give up or surrender. This is every reason to step out, bold, intent, and motivated to make as much impact on your life and your words as possible.

After all, Imogene Coon taught me that peer pressure and honesty are two very powerful aspects of life and I need to heed this knowledge and make excellent choices. Humberto taught me many things, as I hope I taught him some as well. Humberto taught me a level of integrity at around fifteen-years-old that I strive to carry with me at all times to this day. And Pat Urbas. She inspired me. She breathed a dream into me that last day of the semester at WV Institute of Technology in 1979.

I had a bit of a college crush on her. She was beautiful. Intelligent. Then, to top it all off, she loved the first real short story I recall writing. She loved it so much, she told me to pursue my talent. She was able to feel the passion I developed writing “A Race Against Love.” She saw something in me and took the time to pass on her observation. She will live on in me as long as I possess the breath to tell people.

Those 100+ people who’ve written books through my help actually perpetuate Par Urbas even if they do not realize it. Even though I mention her in most every writing workshop I facilitate, they never met her and won’t remember her name. The seed she planted, however, lives on through me and I have been able to plant 100’s of seeds so far with hopefully 1000’s to come.

The book I’m reading from my childhood is titled, “If I Were Going” by Mabel O’Donnell and Alice Carey. They planted seeds. They blossomed in my young self and delivered a joy for reading. Imogene Coon and Humberto are dead, yet they live within me. Part of who I am grows from them. Pat is still here and so am I. I’m not sure what she is doing, but her teaching and encouragement live in me as well.

Most writers I know, hell, all of them, struggle to write at times. We suffer from all manner of psychological and emotional issues which vex us and work to deter us from our desire to write. My most fulfilling work of my entire lifetime is spent helping people overcome these issues and get their books written. This is my joy, my passion, and one of my primary motivations in life. We each possess the ability to make our choices to write. Most of us need some help, motivation, inspiration and encouragement. That’s one of the reasons I’m here.

I challenge you. Whatever your beliefs about birth and death to me are immaterial. What about where you’re at right this moment? What about your LIFE? What about your dreams and aspirations?

I encourage you to get your stories out of you. Share with the world. Help build something through words. If you’ve made it this far through this post, you must be a reader and most likely a writer looking for something to hold on to. You can write your book/story/essay/poem/screenplay. The question becomes, will you? If you need help, that’s what I’m here for. Check out my site. Michael Ray King

Whatever you do, please make certain you don’t leave your best undone. That’s where I’m at. I may not be able to accomplish everything I desire, but I will not leave my best work undone. Whether that work is mine or helping someone else accomplish their best work is immaterial. Write your stories and thrill to their highs and lows, their ebbs and flows, and have them sing to the world in the manner that pleases you. You can do this.

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“I am simply impressed by the unexpected insights which shower down on me when my job is to imagine, as contrasted with the woodenly familiar ideas which clutter my desk when my job is to tell the truth.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons

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“Keep on reading, thinking, doing and writing! Words keep introducing their friends to you.” ― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

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“That afternoon he told me that the difference between human beings and animals was that human beings were able to dream while awake. He said the purpose of books was to permit us to exercise that faculty. Art, he said, was a controlled madness… He said books weren’t made of themes, which you could write essays about, but of images that inserted themselves into your brain and replaced what you were seeing with your eyes.” ― Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter

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“Inspiration comes and goes, creativity is the result of practice.” ― Phil Cousineau

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Conversation With My Inner Writer

hand writingI enjoyed a fun little writing exercise where I accessed a conversation with my “inner writer.” The exercise began with my inner writer speaking to me about when we first met. I found the conversation revealing, warm, comfortable, and even surprising in places. What follows is the transcript of our dialogue:

Inner Writer: “I came into your life in a truly apparent manner while writing that short story, “A Race Against Love” in Pat Urbas’ class in 1979. More accurately, however, the seeds of our relationship were planted in all the books you read leading up to that short story.

I realize you loathed English classes all the way through high school. All the while, though, I was teaching you a joy of words and writing which your teachers at that point in your life could not accomplish.

Me: Do you remember Marilyn and Kris’s reaction to “A Race Against Love?”

Inner Writer: “Of course! It felt good, didn’t it?”

Me: Absolutely! I was so into the creation of the “story world” and the interaction of the characters. Marilyn was the love interest in the story.”

Inner Writer: “Yes, but don’t discount the writing and her reaction simply based on that. It was a great story.”

Me: “I shouldn’t have changed the ending. I wanted him to die.”

Inner Writer: Understood. But Marilyn was your muse in human form and when she asked for a happy ending, she was teaching you about “market.” That does not mean you have to acquiesce to market, just be aware that most people want a happy ending.”

Me: “True. And the adjustment was simply an added paragraph written like an epilogue. That’s why I understand what I do today more clearly. I should trust you more.”

Inner Writer: “That’s a refreshing statement. It would be nice if you maintained that mindset of trusting me more. I will not let you down as long as you approach me in that manner.”

Me: So where do we go from here? With all the life concerns like time (not getting any younger), finances, crazy ex, children, relationships, exhaustion – how do we get together more often?”

Inner Writer: “You’re doing it right now.”

Me: “That’s not fair. This is a gathering of people where I must participate along with them.”

Inner Writer: “Yes. And you’re doing it.”

Me: “Ok. Ok. I get it. But…”

Inner Writer: “You know better. No ‘buts’.”

Me: “So you’re suggestion I make time for you again.”

Inner Writer: “You did it for Michele and her 31 poems.”

Me: “Hmm. Like Marilyn.”

Inner Writer: “Yep.”

Me: “But this writing was so much better – the Michele writing.”

Inner Writer: “Absolutely. I’m not knocking it, I’m encouraging it. If Michele spurs you to write, I’m all for it. But you need more than Michele. You have unfinished writing business.”

Me: “True that. I see. And today, I made myself get up at 5:00am to prep and write for this mini workshop. That’s what I should be doing every day.”

Inner Writer: “That’s my point. If you can rally yourself to this for others, you just need to get to where you do it for us.”

Me: “We’re a good team.”

Inner Writer: “The best!”

Me: “The things I want to write and the worlds I want to create…”

Inner Writer: “All go to the graveyard at the rate you’ve fallen to…”

Me: “Little harsh?”

Inner Writer: “Truth hurts. More importantly, truth opens the eyes to what needs to be done. For us, what needs done is fun!”

Me: “Damn straight! I’m enjoying this conversation, by the way.”

Inner Writer: “We have this conversation every time you let go. Every time you give yourself permission to write. Every time you act on that permission. Truly, you are your own best ally.”

Me: “I see what you did there.”

Inner Writer: “Yes, but did you feel what I did there?”

Me: “Yes, I am my own best ally. No one else can move me like I can.”

Inner Writer: “True. Michele can indeed move you, but underlying that fact is your permission to allow her to do so. And then, you and I are along for the ride!”

Me: “I see. So the external muse is merely that, external, albeit a powerful one in Michele, and the depth of the muse lies within us, you and me.”

Inner Writer: “Did you hear that? “A you and a me’ – yours and Michele’s major bonding statement. Do not underestimate her wealth of writing power simply because she’s external. She is as close as one can be to being your internal muse.”

Me: “So I should access her more often?”

Inner Writer: “Not more often, but incorporate her assistance whenever possible.”

Me: “Interesting exercise, this. I’m motivated to get up early to write again!”

Inner Writer: “That was the point.”

Me: “Got it.”

Inner Writer: “Anything else we wish to speak about?”

Me: “I’m sure there are many, many things I’d like to discuss, but for now I’m good.”

Inner Writer: “Remember, I’m here anytime you call on me. I even ask you to join me. Most often I’m ignored.”

Me: “Wow. I want to do something about that.”




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“But my way of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider who is listening to me; and, if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part at all is proper.” ― Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater

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“I wonder what the retirement age is in the novel business. The day you die.” ― Yasunari Kawabata, Beauty and Sadness

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“Yes, I hate orthodox criticism. I don’t mean great criticism, like that of Matthew Arnold and others, but the usual small niggling, fussy-mussy criticism, which thinks it can improve people by telling them where they are wrong, and results only in putting them in straitjackets of hesitancy and self-consciousness, and weazening all vision and bravery. …I hate it because of all the potentially shining, gentle, gifted people of all ages, that it snuffs out every year. It is a murderer of talent. And because the most modest and sensitive people are the most talented, having the most imagination and sympathy, these are the very first ones to get killed off. It is the brutal egotists that survive.” ― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

Posted before, but it bears repeating…

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