Book Proposals, Feelings, and Anticharities
With romance, travel, and creative work, much of my time lately has been spent in the world of feelings. (Ugh, I know.)
It’s a subjective place full of supposed intuition, consideration for others, and self-doubt toward this creative path with no visible finish line.
But with the end of said romance, travel, and most the creative work (marked by my final round of editing), I’ve been dwelling more in the objective world with the “business” side of things.
This world includes settling in one location, preparing book agent submissions, and avoiding eye contact with men…
The absence of romance creates perhaps the biggest gulf between where feelings once presided and where rationale now holds court.
The thing about feelings is that it’s hard to remember how they actually felt once they’re gone. I remember they existed and can vaguely explain what it was like, but without a real sense of self-empathy.
What, exactly, led to the schedule sacrifices I then made? Why, exactly, was I crying on those nights? Attempting to revisit how I felt and functioned under the influence of more-than-usual feelings is like trying to place myself in an alien body.
The frustrating result is that it’s difficult to pinpoint why romance-laced feelings are so damn distracting to professional productivity.
Now, without the romance distraction, I’ve gotten more work done, and I’m happy for it. Approaching the finish line with this book requires all the focus I can get, for the final steps are boring.
The first of those final steps is to find an agent, who’ll find me a publisher. I snuffed out 136 on QueryTracker and gauged compatibility with each one. Then, I drafted proposals to the top six, each taking around an hour.
Generally, the requirements for book proposals are a query/intro letter, author bio (“sell yourself!”), market analysis for your book, competing title analysis, sample chapters, and a chapter outline (usually a paragraph about each chapter).
The outline. After reading/editing my book five times, you’d think it would be easy, but I’ve been trying to accomplish it since May (that’s five months). Resistance has been overwhelming. How can I boil all that work down to a few sentences?
Anticharities to the Rescue
After numerous false starts, I took the advice of Tim Ferriss and set up an anticharity goal with StickK, putting $100 in escrow to be donated to the Republican Super PAC in my name if I didn’t complete the outline within three weeks.
An anticharity helps you complete goals by making something really bad happen if you don’t. You can also make your goals public so that friends can cheer or jeer and keep you accountable.
With two days remaining in my three-week timeframe, I sat down at noon to begin. By 4pm, I’d actually begun. Over half was completed by dinnertime. Fancy that.
The next day, I finished in about three hours. Months of anguish boiled down to a task of five hours.
There had been public groans, frequent sighs (no doubt annoying neighbors in the coworking space), and numerous intervals of standing up aimlessly then simply sitting back down.
But I did it, and it flowed easily enough when I’d actually begin typing. The real difficulty was just that I hadn’t wanted to do it.
It’s why something like an anticharity works so well. I like to enjoy and control my time, which is why I hate the business side of writing a book. But I like to control my money more. Losing $100 to Trump supporters would be much, much worse than having to finish my book outline.
If finishing my book outline is a paper cut, donating to Trump is death by a million splinters.
Finishing also required that I stop trying to figure out how to do it correctly, and instead just do it how I wanted. The result is in my own my voice and style, mostly absent of rules.
Sometimes it’s more important to just do things rather than do them “right.”
Here’s a rough draft example of my book chapter outline. As always, I’d love your feedback and critique.
“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”
Moral? Find an anticharity like StickK and pledge the amount that will make you fight for yourself (and against what you despise).
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Anticharities seem like such a great idea! Now if only they could come out with an app for waterboarding…
You are SO onto something there!!
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Having read this I believed it was extremely informative.
I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this short article together.
I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
But so what, it was still worth it!
And it’s worth it very much to me to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time, and hey, maybe it’s not way too much—who’s counting? 😉
wOw, 01 SEPT 2019 -UPDATE getting closer… this post 20211121- 16:46. Location Blair Drummond Smiddy Restaurant Stirling. You may not realize it but you are an inspiration. You may not realize it but you are quite a STAR. Though you have battled through emotions, you have successfully been through the process of getting your book published. CONGRATULATIONS. You also appear to be honest in your posts. I am a little confused. How do you change from being an actor and character portrayal, back to into yourself? “avoiding eye contact with men…” you do not need to do this. They are not ‘men’, they are just ‘persons’. If you cannot see the person then how can you decide if you like them? Liking a person needs to be reciprocated if what you actually want is a friend and a life-long relationship. It is amazing how in these Christmas films they come out with pearls of wisdom in the dialogue. “You cannot have a lasting relationship with someone you do not like in the first place.” How true! A person to share your life is not an item to be acquired. You cannot posses them and then mould them in to what you want them to be. You need to be able to accept them ‘warts and all’. If you cannot, then they are not right for you. The reverse is also true. Second, ‘you should not change yourself to be the person ‘they’ want you to be”. The person you are with, needs to equally accept you ‘warts and all’ After all You are YOU. They need to accept you for who you are and rejoice in your ways, characteristics that make you YOU…. “I would not change a thing..”
I learnt the hard way. A relationship needs to be one of mutual respect, caring and honesty. So, I will add, if they cannot be completely honest with you, then that is not going to work either. And now MY PEARL OF WISDOM. If you are looking for love, STOP. Instead, let it find you. Just continue to be yourself and live your life. There are such riches to experience.
You are a STAR. you have so many good attributes, including knowing yourself and being a ‘solutions’ person. There are not problems, just challenges. It seems that anyone who has the courage to pick themselves up and try something completely new, AND is willing to travel through thirty different countries on their journey, meet and create genuine friendships that will last HAS EVERYTHING THEY WILL EVER NEED. There will be no challenge that cannot be met. HOWEVER you still need to choose what challenges you choose to tackle. ‘You do not have to accept all challenges’ – choose what ones you want to accept. (You already seem to know this) Do not waste your time on a failed relationship. It is a waste of energy. You miss out on living NOW. There is so much to see and do. People to meet, places to go, things to do. AND YOU SEEM TO HAVE BEEN DOING JUST THAT. Hat’s off to you.
What started all this? Me ‘writing back? Well I have become disillusioned. So often you see an nice person in a film and and you think , ‘They are really nice, I would be proud to call them a friend’. Then comes the question, ‘They are an actor, can they be trusted? Are they like that in real life?’ You see, it requires a great deal of intelligence to be an actor. How else can you mentally step into a character and perform the role? I personally feel that an actor should be true to themselves in rolse they perform. If they can act as an evil character, they cannot fail to be be able to do that in their own lives. You may ‘just be acting’ but you have still done it! even if it is in a film.
In a relationship, will you ever to be able to tell when they are acting or being true. Thus, always being curious, I then look to see if they are like that in reality, a nice genuine, kind person. There is a very simple test. Before I go into that, I need to say, in my mind, there is no justification to go into detail in a film or book of a persons physical relationships. Emotional relationships , yes . That all adds to the depth of the character. Physical relationships and explicit details, No. It adds nothing to the story, in fact it detracts from it. The same is true of films. Doing so also reaffirms a lack of respect in adolescents for women and a lack of respect for people in general. Explicit scenes means that the director has no commitment to the story they are trying to tell. Often they are added to satisfy the immaturity of an audience and increase box office numbers. It is not ART, is is pornography. It does nothing to help people grow in emotional intelligence and the development of empathy for fellow human beings. Back to my point, check out IMDb, look at the photos – see if the actor has self respect. If not, then do not ever watch a film with them acting. They have shown that they do not respect themselves. How can they ever expect anyone to respect them. Move on.
So, do not accept pressure from others to do something in ‘ acting’ that is not yourself. It is not you.
Enough. They are closing up here and I need to get home to Lord Afton, Lord James and Lord Jack, the cats who have been gracious enough to share Fair Weather with me. I am sure , given half the chance they would prefer a better co-habitant, but I endeavour to do my best. Hayho!