Working on my Next Book(s)

As it turns out, I have two books I'm working on right now.

I am in the filling notebooks stage with baffling, illegible crud stage hoping to turn up some leads, x 2 projects. 

One of the projects is developing a crude quantitative model for "bothness" and using it to compare two pairings of Chinese and Western concepts.

The other project is "The 13 Principles of Ouhua," which if my first book was about creating a starting point for conversation, and basically getting mired into some (as feedback suggests) not that interesting groundwork as to what is Chinese and what is Western, this one is all about advancing the puck up the ice. I reckon I could do this one in a much more fast-paced style, and though I am talking specifically to Chinese-Western mixed people, actually produce a book that might inadvertently have greater crossover appeal.

Let me know what you think!

What Should This Blog Be About?

Do I want to get more personal? 

The structural editor of my book, Sam Holmes, advised me not to make my blog about "me."

In other words, don't make it about the nuttiness of my branded muesli that morning.

As far as I can see, there are three areas I could cover:

  1. My startup, microascetic
  2. Bothness and the being mixed Chinese-Western
  3. Everyday musings and a writing scratchboard for my next book

What do you reckon? 

What about the balance between words and images? More images? More volune of words? 



The Craft of Writing

I will be talking more about, and of course the book that I have been writing Violet, in the days and weeks to come. In the next couple of posts, and as a means to introduce myself and this new blog, I would like to talk first about my experience at the "coalface," with the craft of writing itself.

Violet will be my first book. I always liked writing; I always liked reading, which as I have learned seems to be considered an essential part of the toolkit for any writer. I remember in high school a lot of emphasis on "writing to be read." Nonetheless, it seems that professional writers place a huge emphasis on being well read. Not only to glean some insights from the old masters, but as Ian McEwan alludes to, to have a sense of what has come before you. In other words you need to be well read in order not to sound cliché without even knowing you are being clichéd

I will share some glimpses in the next couple of posts as to what my writing process has been so far. It would be great to get some feedback and other comments however unrelated.

One thing I realized rather early is that writing takes a lot of energy. It isn't a type of "constant partial attention" that will cut it; to write is to focus. The readers' attention, her or his willingness to stay with you, to pick up on details and draw inferences that you wish she or he would, is a fickle thing. Any lapse by the writer and it is "see ya" from the reader, indeed.

It takes another level of energy, to really focus. Answering phones, responding to business emails, even managing people are things that can all be done well without this type of high energy output. Sure, you need to be "switched on," you need to maintain eye contact- but the it doesn't quite require the same focus.

Stephen King call it "hypnosis." That is his word for focus; he says that writing is hypnosis.  And what I think he means is that there is a windup, and of course a winddown; once you get into the hypnotic phase in-between, you are sort of like Neo in the Matrix for the first time- the trance doesn't last long but, a lot of stuff happens, and when all the fiendish activity is all over, you fall down, wrecked with exhaustion.

I doubt the writing process is ever that dramatic for most writers. Nonetheless, I realized that I could rarely go more than 4-5 hours of actual writing per day. I would take lots of mini-breaks, dive into lots of mini diversions just to re-energize a little bit before I went back into writing. Clearly I am a rookie with all of this and one would expect the process to come more smoothly with time and experience. It has been a lot of fun. I must say that I have really enjoyed the process, and the type of brain use, one very different from business, that is part of writing. Hopefully the end result is halfway decent :)

In the next couple of posts I will talk more about my writing routine and habits- of course I would love any writers or bloggers to offer critical feedback or any thoughts if appropriate.