I'm 13 chapters into writing Trauma Treatments Handbook, Across the Spectrum. Here's the advice I'd give anyone doing the same thing:
- Get a second screen for your computer. Keep the reference page, internet search materials, etc. open on the second screen. It will save you days of searching for the right open file.
- Start the reference list on the first day of writing. Write the reference first, then refer to it in the text. Do it on a separate page.
- Figure out who you're writing for and address the book to them. I have a range of imaginary readers, from clueless, but bright, grad students to informed therapists. I try to keep it simple enough for the students and entertaining and interesting for the rest.
- Use your own voice and use active voice. It's hard to read academese. Don't try to impress anyone with how much you know. It's not the point. Make it accessible.
Don't worry about people hating it. Some will. I'm writing a book that will piss off every true believer, by showing the usefulness of every trauma technique that I know about, and by talking about the shortcomings, too.
Take some time to only write. I just took two weeks off, writing about 5 hours a day. I was able to hold all the chapters in my mind and let the obsession take over me: waking at 3 and 5 a.m. to scribble notes. Up at 6:30 with my brain ready to go, moving things from one chapter to another. I finished 4 chapters, including one very long one. My brain needed time to nail the structure of the book.
Make a list of acronyms to put at the end of the book. I've wanted every therapy book to have them. Put them on the list the minute they pop up in the text. I'm up to 3 full, double-spaced, pages of acronyms and 9 pages of references, so far.
Talk over difficulties with anyone who is around. Everytime I began to tell my husband about a quandry, it solved itself before I was done explaining it.
Use the thesarus on dictionary.com
Read many sources.
Share milestones with your friends, virtual or in person. Let your publisher know too. They worry about books not being on time.
If you don't know something that you want to include, ask everyone. I still don't know where Kluft said, "The first integration, isn't." Do you? Or was it Kluft?
Enjoy the process of writing. Let the "alter" that writes take over and type. It's easier than torturing yourself over every word.
Don't fall in love with your words. Reread. Edit. Reread. Edit. Reread. Edit. But don't worry. Your brain knows. Trust it. And trust that there will be mistakes in y our book. Despite you, your professional copy-editor and your friends.
Back up everything to an external hard drive, every day. Every done chapter, send an email with attachments of all chapters to a few friends who don't live in your town and ask them to put the attachments on their hard drive. If you have gmail, as I do, you can send the attachments to yourself and they'll live in the gmail "cloud" of servers. Losing a book is a terrible thing. BACK IT UP!
Exercise, get massage, socialize. You live in a body with needs. Take care of yourself.
A book is a great excuse to neglect your blog. Sorry everyone!
One other thing. MOZY.COM
It rocks. Easy to use and automagically backs to “the cloud.”
Also love your idea about emailing to yourself at gmail. Offsite archives help you sleep better at night.
I don’t think I could have edited my book without a second screen. One for English, the other for Chinese and references.
Great to hear you are cranking on this new book of yours.
I think I’ll Mozy on down to your back up service. Thanks for the advice. You’re in Missouri? Who knew?!
I recently came across your blog and have been reading about holistic therapies. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Thank you for these suggestions. As a counseling student who struggles with ADD and paper-writing, I have enjoyed your blog – and now will concretely benefit from it, too.