How to Almost Write a Book


  1. Get hit with a fantastic idea while doing the dishes or taking a shower. Why do all your fantastic ideas come at those time? Who knows. Something about water? Or soap? Note to self: Next time you’re feeling uncreative, wash dishes in the shower.
  1. Write your first chapter all at once, read it over, and feel really good about yourself.


  1. Realize that you have no idea what you’re doing. You’ll have to do some research.
  1. Spend a lot of time at the library.
  1. Think maybe you should become a history professor.
  1. After reading, taking notes, and looking at maps, you’re ready to write, but you need to let the other half of your brain know that because the other half of your brain is convinced that you are not qualified to write this fictional scientifically impossible children’s book unless you have at least a Masters degree in your subject. Your worst fear is now having some Egyptologist/Astronomer/French/Physicist storm up to you at a book signing and throw your book at you in disgust. Remember this is not your worst fear. Your worst fear is falling off an escalator.
  1. Write a third of your book.
  1. Now that you’re really in too far to make any significant changes, decide it’s time to make an outline.
  1. Write another third of your book.
  1. Call your sister and tell her you’ve decided you’re going to go back to school for paleo-botany because it’ll probably take you 30 years to make it as a writer and you’ll have to work for those 30 years so you might as well be like that lady in Jurassic Park.
  1. Come up with six other book ideas that are a lot, I mean A LOT, better than your current book. Think you should work on one of those instead as those are going to really make you stand out. Those are going to change the face of children’s literature as we know it. This book you’re working on now has already been written like 47 times by people more talented than you. Or, at the very least, more published than you.
  1. Write the last third of your book in such a burst of creative inspiration that you cockily think you’ll just edit it real quick, get it published, and spend next Christmas in London.
  1. Begin your editing process.
  1. While you edit, read the book chapter by chapter to your writing group. Take notes. Well, mostly take notes. Feel free to ignore the debate about the size of your goat in chapter 14. Remind yourself they are not talking in innuendo because this is a children’s book and you really did write about a goat.
  1. Around this time, change your diet. Your three food groups are bread, cheese, and martinis. Eat like this for six weeks and stop going to the gym.
  1. You are only halfway done editing and its been eight weeks.
  1. Have a complete and total breakdown. Be sure this includes crying in a parking lot.
  1. Finish editing.
  1. This time, be smart about it and set the book aside for a couple of months before you edit it again. Start a very rigorous TV watching program.
  1. Realize that you have no idea when you’re going to be done with this thing.