Craft comes first

When I talk to writers about how to ensure their message is heard, I always start with the same piece of advice: write the best book that you can.

This craft, this art, is core to everything that comes after. The work itself must be of the best quality you can make it.

Craft is difficult. This is one of my favorite photos of what craft feels like:

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

This is what author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore shared on social media while writing her last book, which is taped up on the wall behind her as she makes edits. The caption read:

“Crazy person = writer under deadline = me”

Craft can push you to the edge. Craft can never feel done. Craft pull at every insecurity we have.

What I have found in working with thousands of writers and creative professionals is this: craft doesn’t get easier, but the process that encourages it can.

Over the years, I explored this process. I grew up as an artist, going to private lessons starting around age 5. I spent my teen years learning photography, playing in bands, writing (really bad) poetry, learning paper engineering to make pop-up books, drawing a cartoon for my college newspaper, and learning graphic design skills for some of my first jobs out of college.

This past week, I had a lovely chat with Orna Ross and shared some tips about establishing good creative habits. You can listen to that here.

Investing in craft is not just about the work itself, it is about how you use your time, and use your energy. It is about the journey that creative work takes you on.

If you are a writer hoping to craft the best book that you can, I would encourage you to check out the work of Jennie Nash. She is a friend, but also someone who I pretty much think is a genius when it comes to crafting better writing, better books.

No, I’m not selling anything here, and neither is she. She’s just a friend and someone whose work I deeply respect. She has made me a better writer, and I know dozens and dozens of writers who say the same about her work. She has lots of free advice and a newsletter here.

You can even join us for a call later today where we will have an open Q&A about book writing, book marketing, and connecting with your book readers. Sign up here.

No, this is not some spammy lead in to a product or course. It is just a conversation where Jennie and I answer people’s questions. Period.

I would love to know: what is your biggest challenge in honing your craft?

– Dan