O Me of Little Faith

Today is September 9, 2009, which means it’s another nerd holiday: 09/09/09. Depending on your perspective, we won’t see another set of repeating dates until October 10, 2010 (10/10/10), and no repeating single-digit dates until January 1, 2101 (01/01/01).

So clearly, this is a day when you need to get your fill of mystical events and vibes of symmetry.

In honor of this special day, I present 9 Secret Insights into My Writing Career:

1. I write in Microsoft Word, 12-point Times New Roman, with a 1.5 paragraph space setting.

2. I always come up with the chapter titles before I write anything else. Sometimes even before I know what will be in the chapters.

3. Before I begin writing, I find out what my publisher expects in terms of word count. I then determine how many words will be in each chapter. Then I make sure I come close to that word count.

4. I never have to pad out a chapter to meet my self-imposed chapter word count. In most cases, I end up remove stuff because I write too much.

5. I have several writing tics that my faithful readers have no doubt noticed. These include asking and answering one-word questions (That? Can be annoying), self-indulgent footnotes, and use an over-reliance on the colon (which is also a problem I have in real life).

6. I use Wikipedia a lot for my initial research. While it’s not reliable as a single source, it’s often a good introduction to a subject and makes me aware of connections between events, people, and ideas that lead me deeper into “real” research. So pretty much I love Wikipedia and I don’t care who knows.

7. I am more nervous when I give a completed manuscript to my wife to read than when I first turn it over to my editor to read.

8. Because I write so often about religion, I can’t type the name Chris — my brother-in-law’s name — without automatically adding the “t” to the end of it: Christ. This instinct may also be on account of me being super-pious.

9. Due to my advertising/copywriting background, I have gotten to write the back-cover copy for almost all of my books. As I understand, not many writers get this opportunity. Not sure if that’s good for me or not — sometimes I wonder whether I’m too close to the subject to take on such a big marketing role. Bonus: I also wrote the back-cover copy for this book. And this one. And this one.


Anyhow, happy 9s Day.

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