Page 6 - Boca ViewPointe - October '21
P. 6

Page 6, Viewpointe                                                  October 2021
      To Write Or Not To Write, That Is The Question

      By William A. Gralnick                             hits paper,” needs to know the why of writing something.      Ok. The book is written. Step two is dealing with the
                                                         Without that, knowing where one is going and why, the   answer to the question “what now?” Now is finding an agent
         My latest book has just                         process is hellish, laborious, and unforgiving. Once that   or publisher. This is worse than, as crushing as, receiving
      been published. Writing is                         has been dealt with, one has to put one’s butt in the chair.   rejection letters from colleges. There’s only so much nice
      a process with grins and                           There are many approaches to doing that, sort of like when   one can put into “we’re not interested.” That’s if you get
      groans. It brings to mind the                      Cramdon was teaching Norton to play golf and said, “You   a response at all. I won’t regale you with the varieties of
      title of the wonderful Doo                         start by addressing the ball.” Of course, Ralphie gives him   publishers out there only to say that some are pure thieves
      Wop classic, “Step by Step.” Let’s walk through it together.  a weird look and then with a sweeping arm of gallantry   praying on people’s egos. I have a publisher. A nice Jewish
         It is said that everyone has a book inside them. I am   says, “Helloooooooo ball!”                boy from Brooklyn. He understands me.
      blessed or cursed with a bunch of them taking up room      Some say start with an outline. It can be minimal, and      The first thing I learned about step two is that publishers
      in the attic of my mind. Even so, a writer, before “pen   your task is to let your thoughts spill out into it, the outline   are done when the book is. Before that is the editing process.
                                                         keeping the writer from wandering all over the place. Some,   I and one other person read and re-read my manuscripts five
                     Attention                           especially those wishing to find an agent first, begin with   times. It is a process that is maddening, depressing, and
                                                                                                           exhausting. It’s hard because the writer’s mind knows what
                                                         what is called a proposal. This is sort of like the complex
                  Boca Pointe                            Harvard Outline. What goes in it is what research tells you   should be on the page therefore the writer’s eye doesn’t
                                                         agents want in it. It’s a lot of work, almost like writing a small
                                                                                                           always see a mistake because of the mind’s interference.
                    Residents!                           book before you write your bigger one. Yet, it serves as the   How people edit for a living I don’t know. I wouldn’t want
                                                                                                           to live with one.
                                                         old AAA trip-tik, a road map to follow as you plod along.
                                                           Some say just sit down and write. Even here there are
                                                                                                             The publisher comes up with a cover, tells you to
                Flatten All Your Boxes!                    multiple options. Some say pick a time of day, a block of     get some previews to go with the cover art that has been
            Our recycling trucks do not pick up your cardboard boxes   time for every day of the week and sit in the chair even if   developed, and then pretty much says goodbye unless your
        if they are not flattened. Instead, they go to trash and are burned   nothing comes to mind. Seems dumb to me. Some say do   books are possibles for the NYT’s best seller list and/or
        with regular refuse....lost revenue for residents of Boca Pointe.   that but if nothing about what you want to write comes to   your name is known to most literate people in the world.
                                                         mind and something else interesting pops up, write that. It   We have arrived now at step three—marketing.
                                                         greases the wheels. Some write until they drop. Some say      This is where one leaves a lot of rubber on the road. If
                                                         that produces brain fatigue; stop before the fatigue hits.   you have a nice publisher he/she will guide you through
                                                         Mind you this is all before tapping the first letter of the   what’s to be done next. He or she is not going to do it. You
          On behalf of  The                              first sentence on the computer.                   are. Nor is he or she going to pay for it. Now comes the
                                                           Then comes the writing. It may surprise you to know,
        Club at Boca Pointe we                             of the steps involved this is the easiest. I am blessed with   decision of how much the writer believes in the work and
                                                                                                           how much there is in the budget to back up that belief. Let’s
        would like to remind                             a gift, or so says an Evangelical minister friend of mine.   say the short answer for me is two words, “Not much.”
        our residents that NO                            When I get an idea, it goes from my head to my hand and   Advertising is expensive. One must take the promo material
        walking, running,                                flows onto the paper in a most orderly fashion. Writing has   that my publisher was kind enough to produce and figure
        bicycle riding or dog                            never been a struggle for me. On the other hand, journalist   out how to spread it around. For an ad one needs to think
                                                                                                           closely about target audiences, the closest being family and
                                                         Gene Fowler once said, “Writing is easy: All you do is sit
        walking is permitted on                          staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form   friends, then spheres of potential interest. My book about
        the golf course or golf cart paths. For safety   on your forehead.”                                growing up in Brooklyn is timeless with a huge potential
        reasons, the paths are for golf carts only.         Another tip is to write what you know. I know me best.   audience. This book has a much narrower bullseye on the
                                                         Remember the Jackie Mason bit about the psychiatrist? He   target. Facebook. Instagram, other social media. You bet.
                                                         says, I know me better than you do, so why should I pay   If one is to receive results, one has to work hard and long
          Thank you for cooperating with The Club's      you to tell you what I already know? Ba da boom! I am   and intensively. Next comes step four—making a living.
        policy.                                         into book two of a three-part memoir. My brother of blessed   Thank goodness I don’t have to do that. There’s more, but
                                                         memory, a journalist, said I was a natural storyteller. That’s   that’s enough.
                                                         how I talk; that’s how I write. For reasons laid out in the      If you are curious, the book is “George Washington
                                                         books’ introductions, I have chosen to write on the light   Never Slept Here.” If it’s prequel, about the growing up
                                                         side, with humor but also pathos. I don’t think the world   years, my version of the Wonder Years, then “The War of
                                                         needs “heavy” right now.                          the Itchy Balls and Other Tales From Brooklyn” is for you.
                                                            So, you write. The first book in the trilogy was 87,000   By the way, ‘nothing to do with gym fungi. ‘both available
                                                         words. And that was after editing and leaving a whole bunch   at
                                                         of stuff out. The second is a mere 68,000 words and that’s
                                                         only because I was sure it was longer, decided I had enough,      Columnist  and  author  Bill  Gralnick  was  born  and
                                                         and wrapped it up. I had easily another ten or twenty “thou”   raised in Brooklyn. His latest book, titled “The War of
                                                         I could have hammered out. Writing can be fun. It can also   the Itchy Balls and Other Tales from Brooklyn,” offers
                                                         be labor. I have digital arthritis, so it is also painful. It really   more memories. His writings can be found at https://www.
                                                         tests how committed to writing one is.   

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