Long Overdue Newsletter: August 2021


In America, 40 percent of food is thrown away.

But most of that is cole slaw.

Quote of the Month



Ted Lasso: Let's give it a shot.


Nate: What? You're gonna use my play?


Ted Lasso: Yeah, I mean we're gonna try it on, see if it fits. You know, it might not. Then again, it might be a very flattering silhouette. I might wear it right out of the store.

The Life of a New Book Idea



Last newsletter, we highlighted five authors moving their stories from rough drafts (or revised draft) to a completed physical book.


This month, we're going back earlier in the writing process. All the way back to the "New Idea" stage. We're gonna use the Ted Lasso scene above as our blueprint for how to go from a new book idea to a completed first page.


The Moment of Inspiration


Chances are, a new idea for a book won't hit you when you're thinking about writing a book. The idea hits when you least expect it. Like when you're taking a shower. Washing the dishes. Daydreaming during a Zoom meeting.


When it hits, there's this initial moment when the idea feels like the greatest thing ever. You rush to scribble it down. Within minutes, you've already cast the Netflix version of this future bestseller.


"Anybody got an idea for a book?"


At some point, the idea goes into the wild. The topic of writing a book comes up and there's this little cartoon devil and angel sitting on opposite shoulders of the soon-to-be author.


Angel: Share the idea! It's great! Come on, they're gonna love it.


Devil: Are you crazy?! It's not ready yet. And who are you to even THINK about writing a book?


When Ted Lasso opens the door to any new ideas, Nate doesn't even have words, just a light groan. He struggles to even stay standing. When asked again if he has an idea for a soccer play, he mumbles and ends up saying no.


This is the fragile moment for a new idea. If the listener meets it with scrunched eyebrows, a yawn, or the dreaded, 'Welp, maybe stick to your day job,' any momentum the idea had at the inspiration stage is now out the window. While some people can use this negative moment as motivation ("I'll prove them wrong") and start writing their book, most of the time a bad experience here shoots the idea down before it ever had a chance of becoming a book.


But here's what happens when an idea meets a Ted Lasso (or a great writing teacher):


The teacher/coach keeps pushing until the author returns to the confidence they had during that initial inspiration moment.


Granted, there are still some layers of defense. As authors, we try and lower the listener's expectations:


"It's probably not very good..."


"I've got this crazy idea..."


"Eh, it'd probably never work..."


But the Ted Lasso keeps pushing.


"Sorry, Nate, I've got a real tricky time hearing folks who don't believe in themselves. So, I'm gonna ask you real quick again, do you think this idea will work?"


"Yeah, I do."

"Woah! Why are you screaming at us, Nate?! We're right here! Alright, come on now, walk us through it."


This is where the magic happens. Once the author -- and when we say author, we mean either someone who's written a book or any soon-to-be-author, anyone pursuing their first book -- returns to their creative spark, the whole dynamic changes. There's newfound confidence to pursue their idea into a book.


But it's important the way this Ted Lasso scene ends. Lasso doesn't say, "This idea will be amazing!" or "Let's call a publisher right now!" He leaves the outcome wide open.


Ted Lasso

Yeah, I mean we're gonna try it on, see if it fits. You know, it might not. Then again, it might be a very flattering silhouette. I might wear it right out of the store.


For Nate, he didn't need to hear, "Your play's amazing," he needed to believe, "Hey, I'm a soccer coach." Soccer coaches don't always have amazing plays. But they do have new ideas to try out.


Likewise, going from a new idea to a completed first page (or outline), isn't really about the idea itself. It's about reaching that internal belief of, "Hey, I'm an author." An author won't always have amazing ideas. But they will have new ideas and the sense of freedom to write a page, test it out.


This might be an overstatement (but maybe not):



We believe the distance between "New Idea" and one completed page (or outline) can be just as far and challenging as the distance between one completed page and a 300-page rough draft. That first jump takes a lot of guts, and we love seeing an author take this leap of faith, believing in their story.



"Turn the Page": A new Class From Long Overdue


We have "Feedback Circle" to help authors go from Rough Draft to Second Draft. There's "Final Draft" to go from Second Draft to Finished Book. Now we're excited to announce "Turn the Page," a class designed to help people move from an initial idea to either one completed page or a one-page working outline of their future book.


Here's how it'll work:


The class will go from Thursday to Sunday. We'll kick this off on Thursday, October 21, and end it on Sunday, October 24. All virtual, but hoping this could be in-person someday.


Thursday - Share your idea for a book, one-on-one. We'll meet it with our very best Ted Lasso. No scrunched eyebrows. No discouragement. To use the Second City motto, it'll be a total "Yes And." This'll be a 30-minute/1-hour phone call or Zoom call.


Friday - Dive into the idea. Brainstorm scenes. The goal is to have 5-10 scene ideas by the end of this call. We'll also help you create a short "pitch" for your idea so when someone asks you about it, you've got a short description ready to go. This will likely be an hour phone call/Zoom call.


Saturday - We send you off on your quest. The journey to write the first page or outline is underway.


Sunday - On Sunday evening, we'll setup a group call with Long Overdue and/or the other authors in the program. You'll have a chance to share your idea or just simply celebrate "turning the page" on your new idea.