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Home > Columns > > December, 2006 - Aiki-Write II
by Lynn Seiser

Aiki-Write II by Lynn Seiser

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Last month I encouraged people to express themselves in writing. There was some enjoyable conversation and back channeling. I offered to make available the outline I used at an Aki-Extension conference in Chicago a few years ago. So here is the process I have found useful. I will always continue to support and encourage everyone to express themselves. Good training, and good writing.

Get educated: Writing has suffering. Suffering comes from ignorance. Ignorance can be overcome. Ignorance (not knowing) is the beginning point, not the end. Go to the libraries, used bookstores, garage sales, swap meets, and read everything by anybody about everything related to writing. Join a local writer's group, attend a conference/seminar, and take a class. It is more a craft than an art, more perspiration than inspiration, and more doing than thinking. Do not reinvent waza. Listen and follow your Sempai and Sensei.

Self-Publishing: Solo training. You are only looking for a printer. The financial, editing, marketing, and promoting responsibilities are all yours. A true Ronin. A good way to go to gain some visibility if you have the time, money, energy, and personality. E-Books similar.

Got an idea, enter, write a query: Enter and invite a response. Research your idea by finding magazine and book publishers who already publish and sell in that market niche (who and what). Use Writer's Market. Stay relaxed, be patient, stay centered and balanced, extend, and let go. A query letter is to interest a publisher in your idea in a concise summary of central ideas and to convince them you can write it. Lead with a summary paragraph of your idea, title, subtitle, and market handle. Flow with support of facts and premises, create need, relevance, and urgency. Flow with brief credentials and experience that establish expertise. Close by requesting to do the work. Read, rewrite, reread, and revise. One page addressed by name to editor, spell/grammar check, and SASE. Leave them wanting more: Zanshin.

Enter and blend with rejection: Let go and move on. Resubmit elsewhere. Revise and resubmit. Follow-up on leads given. Send acknowledgement and thank you. Find a match. Flow to the next. Sales is trying to get them to buy what you have, marketing is trying to have what they are buying. What are they looking for? Write a new query for that. Blend with the feedback given, don't resist it. Redirect.

Enter and blend with acceptance, write a book proposal: A proposal is a detailed plan which includes; title and subtitle, selling or marketing handle; the subject hook, commercial potential: why is there a market now, focus/slant, special features, table of contents, chapter by chapter outline with paragraph summary, competition and how different/better/new, length, size, photographs, readership/topic niche and marketing ideas, spin off potentials, author's promotional involvement, credentials and expertise, sample chapters, clippings, SASE, multiple submissions. Redirect: read, rewrite, reread, and revise. Practice.

Enter and blend with acceptance, get it in writing, sign a contract: A contract is a legal agreement stipulating commitments and financial terms and payments, advances, royalties, length of work, distribution/subsidiary rights, copyrights in author's name, options, termination, and delivery and publication date, failure to deliver, revisions and corrections, author's copies, warranty and indemnification, non-competition, general provisions to use author's name and likeness. Get professional legal advice.

Enter and blend, become one with the word processor, write the manuscript: Now that you have signed up, it is time to show up and train/write/create. Set a schedule/quota with early deadline because Sensei Murphy always shows up. Double-space, 8 1/2" x 11", 1" margins, spell/grammar check, simple font (Times New York 12), white paper. Just write, even when you don't feel like it. The flow of words will come with practice of your craft. Don't wait for inspiration, create an opportunity for it.

Enter, blend, and redirect with changes, rewrite and revise: Shape it. Learn from your errors. Errors require corrections, not judgment, or punishment. The editor is your friend, helping you reach and help more people. Blend with them. Redirect: read, rewrite, reread, and revise.

Finish, let go, and move on: Zanshin. Actively publicize and promote.

Got another idea?: (Randori/Jiyu-waza) Enter, write a query.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now stop reading (and writing), step away from the computer, and get back to training. KWATZ!

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