Monday, May 4, 2009

"How Do You Write a Book" By Author Katherine Jeffries

"How Do You Write a Book" by Katherine Jeffries:

Talking about writing is more than a little awkward for me, mostly because I don’t know how to answer the question, “How do you do it?”

It’s like directing someone on how to breathe, or describing how a kiss feels. Whenever I talk about writing, I always feel like I have to add, “Guess you had to be there,” because my audience always seems somewhat deflated when I’m done.

Since it’s such a personal thing, such a quirky, singular experience to any writer, there’s no way to answer the question, “How do I write a book?” Since I wrote my first novel when I was 12 (you’ll never hear me brag about how good it was, by the way), I really don’t know how to tell someone how to gear up to write. All I say is, “Just write it.”

But when talking to other writers, I get nods.

And then there comes writer’s block and the “just write it” ain’t so easy. Or ain’t it?

There are two phrases that get me through the mythical “writer’s block.” The first phrase is, “Shut up and write.” The second phrase is interdependent with the first, and almost more critical to my sanity than the first, and it is, “It’s not writing, it’s rewriting.”

If you tell yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect, that it isn’t permanent, and that it’s just a start, you won’t have that choking anxiety or frustration that most people label “writer’s block.” If you name the block properly--“I don’t know how to kill Harold Crick”, for example--then you can better focus on how to move forward. You can brainstorm, do research, take the description set-by-step, or simply take a break because you just might be tapped out for the day--and that’s fine! But if you go into it considering it something you’ll rewrite later, or tweak, or reconsider, the pressure is off and the creativity is allowed to at least peek through the fog.

But if the “block” is lasting days on end, then it’s something else. Maybe you’re intimidated by how much you feel you have to do--you have to write 10 pages a day, darn it, or you’re a failure--or maybe you just don’t know what’s directly next, but you know where you want to be in 10 pages--so skip what’s next and jump 10 pages ahead and go back and fill in the blanks. You don’t have to write everything a certain way, in a certain order. If you’re obsessed with method, you just might remain blocked.

In writing a 4 book series, I’ve had to throw my hang-ups out the window. I’ve given each chapter its own file, for starters, and each book its own folder because I’ve had to add chapters and shuffle them in, and I’ve skipped ahead to write some chapters while they were clear in my mind and then filled in the in-between chapters.

And, to overcome the permanence of “deleting,” I’ve created a file called “Extras,” where I cut and paste the parts that don’t work because, to be honest, I would cry inside if I had to delete 4 pages of hard-earned storyline, even if it was lame--I wrote it and it’s mine! (For book 3 alone, the “Extras” file is 19 pages long single-spaced--I’ve deleted entire chapters. No kidding.)

You can trick yourself into writing, kind of like tricking kids into eating vegetables--“Just take one, BIG bite! Just ONE!” By just sitting, by telling yourself you only need to write one GOOD paragraph, or, geez, one GOOD sentence, you’ll reawaken your purpose and your love for it and you might write those daunting 10 pages--to be rewritten later, of course!"

Katherine Jeffries
author of Darkness Comprehended

"Katherine Jeffries is the author of Darkness Comprehended, available now at fine bookstores and on,, etc. Please check out for more information on upcoming novels, events and appearances."

Kate Jeffries -- a new kind of hell.

I have had the chance to meet Kate, I just happen to visit teach her. How lucky is that!
Kate is working on her next books (a trilogy). She thinks out of the box, is blunt (I like blunt) and very interesting to talk with as well as funny and fun to be around.
She gave me a signed copy of her book for a FREEBIE that will be posted and begin next Monday. I had to take a peak and read it. It is very deep with multiple meanings you can intemperate and take away from it. There is also a different philosophy/angle on death, hell, and love among other things. It is definitely an adult book (for violence and death depictions).


  1. great post! She sounds amazing. Can't wait for the freebie! :)

  2. Ooh! I LOVE This MAry! Thanks so much for posting! And you're so lucky to get to know Katherine! what fabulous info! Jenni

  3. Thank you, Katherine (and Mary). I definitely identify with much of what you said. I find the only way to overcome writer's block is to write. I had several new thoughts come to my mind on how to organize my books and chapters while as I was reading this. You definitely motivated me to to get writing! I'm also so excited to go get your book! I'm always looking for a good new series. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

  4. Thanks, Katherine! This is great info. I, too, identify with your writer's block methods. The times I experience "writer's block" the most is when I'm feeling anxious about who's going to read it or that it has to be perfect. Rewriting is the best! Thanks again and I can't wait to read your books

  5. great post, thanks for the info, I'm taking notes here...

  6. Sounds awesome! Can't wait to read it!

  7. I had no idea my idiosyncrasies would actually help anyone! I don't have many writer friends, so to inspire others and help them get out from under the pressure is kind of an honor. Good luck to all of you! Write and rewrite--just like I'm doing these days! Please email me through my site anytime! I could use some tips, too! --Katherine Jeffries



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