Comparing writing a proposal to writing a book

I finally have a break from work. Yes, it’s Sunday and I have the day off. For the last five weeks I’ve been knee-deep in working with a team of engineers writing a proposal to the U. S. Air Force. And, I’d like to share some of the steps they have gone through – some very similar to those we take as fiction and nonfiction authors and some not. Plan. Start with an outline or a plan – the engineers produced annotated outlines and planning documents called story maps that showed where on each page of their sections their graphics and text will layout on the page. I started both my memoir and novel with outlines. I know some of you are panzers, but I like to have a plan before I write. Review. We spent a lot of time reviewing these plans for compliance with the proposal instructions and technical soundness. I was very fortunate to have a friend review my original memoir outline and another person review my revision plan when I was getting it ready for publication. Having fresh eye … [Read more...]

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Thoughts about the est training forty years later

In 1976 I participated in the Erhard Seminars Training (est), an organization, “founded by Werner H. Erhard,” that, according to Wikipedia, “offered a two-weekend (60-hour) course known officially as the est Standard Training. The purpose of est was ‘to transform one's ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up just in the process of life itself.’ The est training was offered from late 1971 to late 1984.” Est, the Wiki says, “focused on transformation and taking responsibility for one's life.” As a parting memento, we received a little brown-covered book of aphorisms that pretty much summed up what we learned in that training. One aphorism that has stayed with me over the last forty years is: “If you keep your agreements your life will work.” Since that time, keeping agreements has been the way I live my life, and I find myself very impatient with those who don’t keep theirs. So it was no surprise that … [Read more...]

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