Progress Note: Writing A Book Is A Second Job

Fully completed revising and citing all of Part I, finished revising and citing the sections on Original Sin and Judaism, and currently in the process of revising and citing the section about Christianity for Part II. I spent too much time on revising the section on Islam for the third time, but admittedly I did think it was necessary because it helped for me to write further clarifications on the problems of Islam. I haven’t spent as much time on the section of Buddhism and I didn’t even begin Hinduism, but I do have the outline set and after researching further, I haven’t found any reasons why the outline would need revision before I begin writing the chapters down for the section on Hinduism.

It feels surreal that this four year journey of writing, revising, and trying to improve will finally be coming to an end soon. I had felt bad about it taking so long until I read that most authors take 4-10 years to finish a book, read up on the book Getting Things Done and realized writing a book wasn’t easy, and recalled the difficulty of the entire endeavor from Hank Green’s explanation on distinguishing tasks from projects. A book is a long-term project. People who believe it is easy probably don’t think about the numerous steps required for writing an exceptionally good book. It requires knowing your audience for the book, selecting a fitting genre that hopefully won’t drown out your book from the tens of thousands of others, it requires knowledge of copyright so you don’t get scammed out of your money both in your own country and overseas, possibly hiring an editor to fix your grammar mistakes (I won’t be doing this and instead rely upon my essay writing abilities from years of college — potentially to my detriment), paying someone to make a good cover that’ll attract readers (I used, and purchasing a ISBN from your home country. All of that is before marketing your book, which I’m not sure I have a good plan for. The most daunting prospect throughout all of this is that you can spend so much of your time and effort and you may not even make a single sale. The three books I’ve written, the political ones I could have admittedly done a better job in, didn’t really sell much beyond $60 combined throughout all the years they were available up to the present moment and I spent over $50 on advertising. Alternatively, when I released my first ever book for free, it was downloaded just above 100 times, but the moment it was on sale, there was maybe 5 or 6 sales at best over several years. And only one review which didn’t go into any details on any criticisms they had about the book and gave it a 3/5. The dystopian-comedy fantasy novel I wrote to mock Neo-Nazis and their ilk did marginally better since it made 4 sales within the first year and got 2 positive reviews. To be clear though, I don’t really mind since I didn’t put in my best effort, but rather just wanted to prove to myself that I could write about such topics. I think it was probably a detriment overall and I wonder whether I should just pull all the books I’ve written thus far off of Amazon permanently and have only this specific book I’m writing to be the only one available for sale. The only reason I don’t is because if a reader ever gets curious as to how much I’ve changed in my thought process over political issues, they can read about my previous beliefs and compare them to my contemporary ones.

I’m not sure how many of you who are unfamiliar with the habits of writing will believe this, but I honestly feel that writing a book is harder than most mundane physical labor jobs and even the job I had at the Veteran’s home as a Health Unit Coordinator for patients with dementia. I’ve been an unloader, taking palettes off of trucks, and I think that writing a book is several orders of magnitude harder. As an unloader, I had to physically pull things, flee whenever a badly formed palette off a truck began to fall near me, and move it to specific locations in a store. It’s quite a thoughtless job. By contrast, writing a book requires making an outline, researching several topics at great lengths to give an informed opinion, and possibly making additions or changes. For fantasy or Sci-fi writers, its several orders of magnitude more difficult since you have to make a culture that feels authentic or possibly multiple cultures that feel authentic to readers, focus on other aspects of the setting, make interesting subplot points, foreshadowing specific twists in stories, making realistic characters, pinpoint an entire journey and the overarching theme of the journey, write everyone’s dialogue, and provide an engaging motivation to hook readers. Moreover, regardless of if its non-fiction or fiction, you’re competing with every other book in your genre. And even after all that, you may not make a single penny for all of your effort. George R.R. Martin is right to say that writing a book is a gamble. In fact, according to fictional writers who report on their experiences, the average fictional novel may take anywhere from 4 – 10 years to complete. People really underestimate the difficulty. For example, if you’re working two jobs and one of your free days from one job overlap with a day you’re off of work in your other job, then you’ll probably find it practically impossible to work on a book. Laundry, possibly taking care of kids, groceries, and so forth will all take time. And you need time to unwind especially if just one of your jobs is physically or mentally taxing and demands a high level of work performance. It may not seem important, but writing a books table of contents, chapters, and even taking free time to think over the book (especially if you’re writing a fantasy or Sci-fi novel) is important. You can’t concentrate and think over such aspects when doing rudimentary chores or when doing tasks at your job. Even free time at lunch isn’t enough to think over concrete stories or methods of researching new information. At best, you’ll be jotting down a couple of notes that you could never get to or potentially could forget. Writing takes concentration and habit; it is a job all on its own and its one that you may never get paid for and possibly never even finish. You really do run the risk of wasting so much of your time and effort on something that yielded nothing valuable as a return of investment.

Despite all that, I really do feel what I’m working on warrants the risk and is vitally important to write. At best, it’ll hopefully inspire others. I’m sure every author who has ever written a book wishes to become famous and I’m not going to pretend I’m an exception as that would be dishonest. I do hope it is financially successful too, but I doubt it judging from my own track record and some of the responses I get for some arguments I share online. I hope religious believers at least give the book a shot and that it gets decent reviews at least. I want it to be the sum-total of all my arguments against religion and a critique of different religions methods and assumptions about the world. I suspect that all I’ll be seen as is arrogant though, but I hope not. I’m still focused on trying to finish this and hopefully it’ll be done by either this month or early next month.

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