Skip to main content

When Something Goes Wrong In the Writing Process

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

From my experience in publishing, there are many tests and
trials in the process. You plan things and then those things don't happen or go
off kilter or break or many other possibilities. As I see it, there are two
tests in this process—the one on the surface and then the real rest of how you
handle this situation.

Last week I began working with an author on writing his book. He
came into town from across the country and we spent two days together working on
gathering the stories and contents of his book. The work was interesting and I
believe a fascinating book will result from those hours of working together.
From my experience, something always goes wrong in this creative process—always.
Now I tend to forget that this happens (also part of the process) and it always
catches me by surprise.

For years when I work with someone to interview them, I record
it. I have an old fashion tape recorder and use real tapes (hard to find these
days but possible). I have used my recorder over and over in this process and
set it up. After several hours of interviewing and storytelling, I decided to
listen to the tapes. To my shock, nothing was on it. My author took ear phone
and listened to the tapes. Again he heard nothing. Hours of work was gone on
these empty tapes. We were stunned yet came up with another way to record the
stories and continued working inspite of the missing tapes. We worked through
the rest of the outline and spent about 12 hours together in this process.

Besides this recording fiasco, the local weather was also a
challenge: a snow storm dropping several inches of fresh snow. Tired from a day
of interviewing, I cleared the windows of my car and drove carefully home.
Grateful to have this time with the author for storytelling. He was flying home
early the next morning.

When I got home, the next day, I have a different tape recorder
and decided to test my recorded interview tapes (several of them). To my
surprise, two of the three tapes had recordings. Hours of work was on the tape.
I called my author to tell him and could hear the relief in his voice with this
news. We worked together on the phone later in the week to redo the missing
stories. I have the bulk of the contents and stories needed for this book

I wrote these details to show you the types of challenges that
happen when you work on a writing project. Your experiences may be different but
I suspect you will have something to overcome each time in the process. Do you
let it derail and stop your work or do you figure out another means to get it
done? How you handle this choice will be the difference between getting it done
or not; completing the project or not.

When you work on a writing project, do you have these types of
things happen to you? How do you handle it? Let me know in the comments


Does something derail you in the writing process? How do you get around the difficulty?  Get insights from this prolific writer.  (ClickToTweet)


Popular posts from this blog

How to Recover from a Launch Disaster

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

How do you recover from a book launch disaster? Over 4,500 new books are published every day.  As someone who has been in publishing for years, I understand without the author's active role, little happens.

In recent years, I've watched authors launch books and participate in their launch teams. I've gotten advance reading copies of the book, read it then posted my reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. I've taken online courses on launching books. As an acquisitions editor for a New York publisher, Morgan James Publishing, I've watched many other authors launch their books. Like many things in publishing, I've found not everything will go according to your plans.

While I've written more than 60 books, I haven't published a new book in several years. My newest book, 10 Publishing Myths released to the bookstores on December 17th. Last year, I asked New York Times bestselling author, Jerry B. Jenkins …

Face the Silence With Action

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Are you getting silence as you reach out to literary agents or editors during the holidays? Yes you might get a little response such as holiday greetings or Merry Christmas. From my years in this business, there is often a shift in the community from right before Thanksgiving until right after New Year's Day. People put off sending manuscripts. If they have a book contract from a publisher, they often delay to sign it until after January 2nd and any number of other decisions of this nature.

My authors are Morgan James are still active and corresponding with me but little is finalizing and moving forward—so mostly silent in some ways. How do you handle this silence? Does it stop your writing and your work in the community? In this article, I want to give you some pro-active idea of what you can do to be productive and face the silence with action.

1. Read books on the craft of writing. As you read these books, use a highlighter and post-it notes to take ac…

Get A Realistic Publishing Perspective

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I've spoken with many authors about their plans and ambitions for their published book. Authors pour a lot of energy into writing their manuscript and creating a book proposal or careful pitch of their book for editors or literary agents. These authors make statements to me like:

“My book will be a bestseller.”

“My book will make a lot of money.” 

“My book will sell ____ copies.”

Also over many years in publishing, I've had publishers tell me that my book would be in airport bookstores and they had plans to market and sell many copies of the book. Conventional wisdom in publishing says the larger the advance, the greater the publisher investment and the greater they will have to invest in marketing to get this investment back and more. I've been blessed to get a couple of six-figure advances—but I have lengthy stories (not good ones) about how each of these books turned out in the market.

From my years in publishing, I know and understan…