Happy Independence Day to all of my American readers! Today's post comes to us from Tio Stib, author of Perils of Payeto, Saving the Last Vaquita Porpoise. Tio is a full-time writer who offers some great insight to writers looking to find the motivation to finish their first (or second, or third, etc.) book.
Q: What is one thing that no one would usually know about you?
I've been lost more times than I've been found.
Q: What is the best excuse you've come up with for missing a deadline or arriving late?
I don't miss deadlines and I don't show up late.
Q: When did you write your first book? How old were you?
It was a screenplay about 25 years ago. At the time I was having too much fun as an architect to think much about writing but I did enjoy the screenplay writing process. Looking back, the screenplay sucked, but it was a start.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book? If you've written more than one book, has that length of time differed with the different books you've written?
It takes me about four months from initial outline until final rough draft. It takes many months longer to edit and rewrite until I'm satisfied with my work. Then, the marketing begins.
Q: Are there any authors you look up to as an "oblivious mentor?" What do you find inspiring about another author?
Hemingway, for his eloquent simplicity. N Scott Momaday for his connection to the land. John Muir for his commitment to preserving wilderness. Wallace Stegner for his lyrical prose and depictions of the vast American West and the unique characters who transformed it. There are dozens of others, authors whom I consider to be my friends, reaching out from the pages of their books to embrace and support me on my own writing journey.
Q: What is your writing schedule?
I write something every day, either a blog post, a poem content for the few social media groups I participate in, or chapters of current book projects. I try to not work more than 4-6 hours per day, knowing that if I shift into obsessive compulsive behavior my larger life will suffer and, consequently, my writing will too. And I never write on Sundays; my mind needs a regular day off.
Q: Do you outline before you begin writing? How do you prepare for a book?
When I get a book idea, I sit down and do a brain dump on the computer. Then, with a book concept simmering in the back of my mind, I go about my daily work. Ideas start popping up, from characters to interesting facts and details to story lines. I keep adding to my book brainstorm document. When I feel there's enough to start building a story, I do an outline, using the standard three act screenplay format.
Q: What three resources have you helped you the most in your writing/publishing process?
Most important is VoiceOver, the Apple text reader that converts the text on my computer screen into spoken language. This marvelous tool has allowed me, a blind writer, to re-enter the world of living writing. Next, the internet, instant access to research information and the ability to communicate with people all over the world. Finally, my circle of professional friends who support and motivate me.
Q: What is one thing you would suggest as advice to an aspiring writer?
Get immersed in the practical realities of what a writing career in today's world means. I offer two of my blog posts at travelswithtio.com:
After you've done your research, take some quality time to evaluate what you really want your future to be and how you're going to make that happen.