Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The week I wrote a book

I know, I know, I disappeared again. I keep doing this to you guys, but I promise I have a good excuse this week, I wrote a book. Don't start jumping up and down just yet, you won't see my name on the New York Times bestsellers list just yet, because my name isn't on this book. I don't know whose name is going to be on this book because I didn't write it for me.

I mentioned in a post at the very end of last year that I was unemployed now, and we are currently struggling to find ways to stretch a very limited income. Well one of the ways I have found is freelance writing. As I'm sure you guys are all aware, I love writing. It has always been one of my favourite hobbies (right after sleeping) ever since I was a kid. So when I found a website that gave freelance writers a place to apply for work, I signed right up. This was back in October of last  year, and while I got employed almost straight away writing articles for various blogs and websites, my new boss (or as we freelancers call them, clients) was shady as all get up, and I ended up doing a months worth of work for free, because he never paid me for any of the writing I did for him.

Fast forward to this year, and my current empty money bag. I decided that I don't want to write SEO articles for other people, if SEO was important to me, I'd be using it here for goodness sake and driving traffic to my own awesome corner of the interwebs. I decided what I really want to do is what I dreamed of doing back when I was young and optimistic, and that was write books. Of course I have a huge problem standing in the way of being an author, and that is the fact that I have nothing to say on any subject until you tell me to start talking. So in comes my freelance hiring website, and my best use of the biggest words I know, trying to impress e-book publishers and convince them to hire me to be one of their typing monkeys. And wouldn't you know it, someone took the bait.

Unfortunately for me, being a freelance writer means you have to write on whatever subject your client wants you to write about, and this client wanted a how-to book written up for a very popular computer game. Now I'm well aware of this computer game, I've even tried playing it once or twice, but I'm what gamers call "a total noob" so I'm probably the last person you want writing anything about games. Of course I can't admit this to my new client, so I had to panic quietly, and then I did the smartest thing I have ever done, I called my big sister, who plays this game with her son religiously. They watch YouTube videos, they go on public servers, they've even run their own server. They spent the next week schooling me on this game, and helped make sure I wrote something that was not only coherent, but also correct. I even had to learn the language these gamers speak. This was a crash course in nerd like I've never had before.

So now, I can proudly say I am a struggling artiste, as I sit around coffee shops stroking my neckbeard (what female hipsters can't have neckbeards? tell that to my European genes.) instead of simply a stay at home mum who relies on rice to pad out way too many meals. And just because there's nothing better than unwarranted advice on a personal blog to help you guys out, here is the perfect process for writing a book for someone else on a subject you know nothing about.

Step 1: Stare at the screen dumbly while you try to process exactly what you just agreed to.
Step 2: Have a brief moment of optimism as you ask yourself exactly how hard it could be to write a book about computer games/eliminating bedbugs using steam cleaners/whatever other crazy subject people apparently want to read about.
Step 3: Run around the room in a blind panic as you realise you're about to reveal yourself as an absolute fraud.
Step 4: Find an expert on the topic you need to write about, bribe them with chocolate (or alcohol, or even Pokemon cards if they're young enough).
Step 5: Begin writing, realise this is going to be harder than you originally thought.
Step 6: Spend a week hunched over your computer day and night pouring over wiki articles, YouTube videos and Google as you find difficulty after difficulty after difficulty in your way.
Step 7: Begin dreaming about the video game/topic you're currently writing about. (I'm not even kidding about this one.)
Step 8: Write the book, proof read the book, get someone else to proof read the book, proof read the book for a second, third and fourth time, Check it once more just to make sure you absolutely haven't left anything out.
Step 9: Submit your book and pray your client is gentle with their criticisms.
Step 10: Read the email telling you the client loved your book, and wants you to do another one on the exact same subject.
Step 11: Crawl into a bottle of wine and never crawl out again.

So that's it. I am now trying to find a nice way to tell my new client that I never want to write another computer game based book as long as I live, but I think I'm just going to take the chicken's way out and tell him I've now moved on to other projects. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play a computer game, because thanks to this stupid book, I'm officially addicted to this game. If you're interested to learn more, all my tips and tricks are yours for the low, low price of a bottle of Jack Daniels. (or $0.99) if you can wait for the book to come out on Kindle.
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