I’m in the throes of writing my fourth book. It’s fiction but based on a trip I took to the Philippines way back in 1989 when I was a junior officer in the US Air Force.
I have a bunch of stories I want to share but here’s the rub … how do I connect them? How do I take a bunch of – what I consider – interesting stories and connect them into a larger story; a story that flows; a story that’s captivating, a story that has a beginning, middle and end?
Well, that’s where plot comes in. Just reach into my handy bag of plots and pull one out … voila! – I got a story.
Only one problem, I don’t have a bag of plots. But, I could easily get one. I could go on a grand hunt for canned plots and then pick out a nice juicy one. But I don’t want to do that.
I just re-read Stephen King’s book On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft and he gives masterful advise on plot. It’s the best news I’ve heard since they announced the “New Kids on the Block” were going on a reunion tour. It’s pure genius. Maybe that’s why Mr. King is the master story teller.
Financial road kill … what’s that?
I call it the “deer in the headlights” syndrome. For some reason, a deer can become mesmerized by oncoming car headlights. The deer then just stands in the middle of the road staring at the headlights – frozen – waiting for the deadly collision.
Well, I wonder if I’m doing the same thing financially? I wonder if I’m just standing in the middle of the road, mesmerized by the headlights of the oncoming financial disaster train.
You see, I just had a series of terrible thoughts. I began visualizing my financial future. I began to imagine some events happening that I never thought of before. Events that would leave me financially defenseless, frozen in the road staring at the oncoming freight train. Just like the deer in the headlights, not knowing what to do or where to go or how to escape. All that’s left is for me to get hit, splat all over the vehicle grill and then – if they can find any body parts – end up on somebody’s financial dinner plate.
And, just what is this picture of doom?
Note: This article is a bit of a milestone celebration – finishing my latest book, Perception is Reality: And other things I learned at Air Force Officer Training School. As such, I’m having some fun writing about the process, talking about how it’s easy. But, it’s been a long slog … it’s taken me over a year to write. It took so long – not because it was difficult – but because I dragged it out. I suffered from a stubborn case of procrastination. I’m over it now and already setting the foundation for my next book. This article is really a “note to self” so, whenever I find myself bogged down while working on my next book, I’ll refer back here for motivation!
Writing a book is easy. I’ve written three and therefore – by definition – it’s easy. If I can do it, anyone can. Yes, it does take some “stick-to-in-ness” but there’s nothing difficult about it. After all, a book is just telling a story except instead of speaking you write it down.
Now I can almost hear you objecting, “Yeah, what about writing a good book? Anyone can write a book, but it takes talent and hard work to write a good book?”
Well, I have to counter by asking, “What’s your definition of a good book?”
Here’s my definition … it’s a good book if you – the author – like it! Therefore, you can write a good book. The only requirement is you gotta like it. If you like it … it’s a good book. Keep in mind, many famous, classic and popular books were first rejected by the so-called “experts.” Don’t let the naysayers throw you off. You’re the boss, you’re the judge, you’re in charge. If you like it – dog gone it – it’s good!
So, with this definition, I can confidently say that I’ve written three good books. And, I can also confidently say – it was easy.
Here are 4 steps to writing a good book.
In my upcoming book, “Perception is Reality … and other things I learned at Officer Training School” I talk about the basic training haircut ritual. I traveled all the way to Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio,Texas – back in Oct 1981 – to get my head shaved! I remember it like it was yesterday.
Here’s the snippet from my new book …
The haircut initiation for enlisted basic military training was memorable. I remember getting marched over to the barber shop. We didn’t really march, we more or less gaggled; we’d only been on base for a day or so. We looked ridiculous traipsing around out of step, in our civilian clothes and sporting “long” hair. I, like most of the new recruits, had relatively short hair. But, even so, we looked like hippies compared to the sharp uniformed and sharp marching recruits who’d got to basic training a several weeks ahead of us.
A few of our fellow flight members were sporting some very long hairstyles; looked like they were trying out for the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar. As such, they became neon-flashing-light billboard-sized targets for the military barbers. They would regret going to basic training with extra-long hair.
All 50 of us formed up in a gigantic semi-circle around the four barber chairs. Then the first four victims got selected. They just happened to be the four guys with the longest hair.
I watched with a steely stare at one particular recruit; his blonde locks reached half way down his back. The barber slowly circled the chair, carefully selected his clipper and then turned to the new recruit and asked nicely, “How would you like your hair cut son?”
Seems like you need a license for everything these days. Some folks may think that’s a good thing. After all, licenses are there to protect us, right? Keep us safe, right? Another way for the government to “nanny” us, right?
Well, I have a question. Once they start issuing licenses, how does the government know when to stop?
For instance, if licensing is such a good idea, why not require more of them? Why not have an endless stream of licenses?
I’m with you … you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking; more licenses is probably not a good idea. And, you may also agree with me when I suggest licenses should be kept to a minimum. Does that sound like a reasonable goal?
The reason I’m bringing this up is because I came across a situation recently that made me worry; worry that the government doesn’t share my idea; my idea that the fewer the licenses the better. I became worried that the government is looking to increase the requirement for licenses and who knows where it’s going to stop.