Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Turning A Ford Into A Ferrari

Determined first-time authors are sometimes able to sketch out an entire first draft of their book, capturing the basic themes, and even the overall chapter structure. But while many of the fundamental ideas are laid out on the page, the result is not yet a finished book. As Ernest Hemingway once bluntly put it: “The first draft of anything is shit!”
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In writing my own books, for example, including a 650-page biography of VLADIMIR HOROWITZ, or years later, my memoir, KATIE: UP AND DOWN THE HALL, I always started with roughly getting the general flow of ideas onto the page without worrying too much about making it perfect. Remember, it’s a work in progress, not a monument.

The mistake that many first-time writers make is trying to make each section perfect before they move on to the next. Not necessary. By the time an actual book is finished, it will often go through multiple drafts.

So the FIRST draft is a little like looking at a blurry photograph.
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You can get the general idea of the image, but it’s fuzzy and unfocused, though it’s a great start. After all, nobody expects you to reach the summit all alone. And that’s where a ghostwriter comes into play.

I recently had a prospective client submit a first draft of a self-help inspirational book about how how to find a career that most closely corresponds to ones true calling and passion. Not least important, this book proposed to demonstrate how you can turn that calling into a profitable business. One sub-section was titled: “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

As an example of how a kernel of an idea can be transformed, I took just that one paragraph, digesting its overall message, and then re-wrote it. It’s the before and after:
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Before:

Anything is possible. An easy thing to say and more intensive to produce, but note I said “anything,” not “everything.” The same theory applies to if you chase two rabbits at the same time, there is a good chance both will escape. That is why your dream, along with your action plan is critical – to making what you want possible for your life, a reality. Listen, anything is achievable, it’s just a matter of time and approach.

After:

You often hear the maxim that ‘Anything Is Possible.’ But to those who may be stuck in a rut or burdened by a financial, physical, or emotional challenge, this may sound like just an easy thing to say.
To those skeptics, attaining a great dream may seem all but impossible.
But it isn’t.
I believe that anything is possible, but notice I didn’t say “everything.”
To attain success, you need single-minded determination. You also need to be physically energized and laser-focused, rather than chasing off in different directions. If you attempt to fulfill two goals at the same time, you may not succeed in either one.
As the adage goes: If you chase two rabbits, both will escape. So in a culture driven to distraction, it’s essential to remain concentrated on your dream.
And to make that dream a reality, your ACTION PLAN, as we define it, is critical.
Armed with that, it’s just a matter of time before what you imagine is achievable.

After the author read it, I was touched by his note to me:

“Glenn, I am sitting here after reading looking at the copy as a kid does with his
hands and nose pressed up along side the glass window of a Ferarri dealership
wishing that some day he could have one of those.”

022111_some_old_ford_tferrari340competizionegI never thought of myself as a Ferarri!–but what a compliment.

In any case, what the ghostwriter can do is take the image you have in your mind and produce from it a fleshed out picture. This means that anyone with a great idea and the support of a ghostwriter can make their book come fully to life, and it doesn’t have to take more than 6 months to get the job done.

If YOU could write a book about anything at all, what would it be?