Different Role, Same Skills

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Very few authors make enough money to live on from their first book, which is fine for me because my strategy is longer term. I expect that once I have three books on sale, my income will increase substantially. It may have taken 13 months to compete the first book, but I plan to write the next two in a much shorter timescale. This is where the transition from my former role as a Business Analyst starts to make sense.

When you work in business change, you need solid processes, clear direction, thorough research, the strength to learn from things that didn’t go well, and the ability to adapt when unexpected events throw a spanner in the works.

In the beginning

When I started my first book, I had to work out what to do and in what order. I noted this down as I went along. A lot of time was spent considering who I was writing for, what genre my book would fit into, what tense the book would be written in and what my main character would be like. I recorded all those decisions to keep my writing consistent.

Once I started writing, the story took me to places I hadn’t experienced first-hand. Internet research uncovered some interesting facts that reshaped my storyline. I had to adapt chapters I had already written to accommodate these changes.

My editor pointed out my descriptions weren’t always thorough. I had forgotten some of the details by that point and had to look through photos to make sure my enhanced descriptions remained accurate. There were some things I hadn’t taken photos of, and I had to refer to the guidebook or websites for those.

The benefit of experience

Having enjoyed most of the experience and learned from the rest of it, I have decided to write a series. To this end, I’ve turned my task list into a writing process, to help me write the next book faster. I’m reusing my decisions list. I departed on my research trip prepared with a list of categories to be filled with notes before my return, and I’ve done more research online since I got back. I’m in no doubt something will happen that will require further research and changes and I know my book will be better for it.

I took lots of photos on my trip, not just of the things that may feature in the story, but also everyday stuff like houses, farms, food and some of the people I met. These pictures are to help me write descriptions so the editing stage need not be quite so laborious this time around.

I am now ready to begin expanding my plot idea into a story. This is where business analysis skills are no help at all and some actual talent is required. Wish me luck.

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