When I made a decision to pursue writing seriously a few years back, one of my first lessons stuck with me.
Focus your attention on writing the best book you can.
This, of course, is a process. Writing a book becomes re-writing it. Re-writing eventually moves to editing. And then poof – there’s a genuine living novel on the computer screen!
In the process of working to accomplish this, I learned there were other things like elevator pitches, query letters, synopsis pages, etc. Writing groups are attended. Conferences are flown to. Critique buddies appear. I came to find that this whole writing thing is a big deal, full of super highs and super lows.
Sometimes in the same day.
When I received my contract offer from OakTara, I realized a new world to writing existed. Things like finances, rights, and book cover brainstorming just to name a few. Some are cool (like coming up with cover art ideas). Some are mind melting (like contract jargon). All are new to me and most aren’t related to the actual craft of writing.
One thing however tops them all.
Oh, come on. You know your inner nerd is doing the snoopy dance. When Albione’s story began to unfold in my mind, one of the very first things I did is make a world map. All sorts of cool ideas took shape from the things I put on that graph paper. Over ten years, I’d revisit that map often and ask myself about a particular area.
Who lives there? What are they like? Who do they get along with? Who are they hostile toward? Who/What do they worship? What would it be like to grow up there?
Mapmaking has always been the most fertile field for my imagination. So, it was an absolute blast to sit down and make some decent looking maps. I’m nothing close to an artist. My children laugh at me when I attempt to draw something for them. Yet it breathed life into my love of storytelling to finalize maps for a skilled artist to put in my book.
So, what about you? What thing do you enjoy most that goes along with writing, but isn’t writing itself?
And if you’d like to see my world map, I’ve uploaded a picture here