How to write an introduction

a) What’s it about? b) Who’s it for? c) Why should they trust me? Writing an introduction should be as easy as abc, but if you get stuck with yours like I did, I think I’ve found the key.

key

For a while now, I’ve been working on the final draft of ‘Writing in the House of Dreams.’ It took me three weeks to go through the whole text, making tweaks and adjustments, so when I decided to re-write the introduction I thought it would take me a few days at most.

Ten days later, I had a huge and growing heap of notes and a brain like knotted spaghetti.

A growing heap of notes
A growing heap of notes

When I thought about who my book was for, the answer was obvious – dreamers and writers. But what do dreamers and writers want to read about? It seemed to me that the answer to that was interpretations and publishing deals.

When I thought about what my book was about, it certainly wasn’t mainly interpreting and writing techniques, although those did come into it.

What I’m most interested in, what makes my book so ‘niche’, is how dream-awareness and writing can transform your reality, because they both mean learning to come and go easily between the inner and outer world, making ordinary life feel bigger, more exciting, more resonant.

I’m interested in how that ability to come and go across the border can take you ever deeper and wider, because imagination has no limits. I like that the more you understand, the more your sense of mystery grows.

I love the feeling that you can take your explorations as far as you want to go, into layers of myth and beyond, pushing back the limits of your courage, curiosity and skills.

So what is my book about? Adventures in the inner world. Discoveries. Secrets and treasures we can bring back to enrich and inspire our everyday life.

Who is it for? Dreamers and writers, at every level of experience, who are interested in the adventure for its own sake, and not only in writing as a career or dreaming as a source of insights into waking life.

That sounds pretty clear, doesn’t it? That sounds succinct and honest. But I had to come here to my blog, in order to unravel all the strands and identify what the main ones were. On a blog, you haven’t got 75,000 words to explore your themes; you’ve got a few paragraphs to make a point.

When you blog, you’re very conscious of your readers because they’re real people, individuals who might comment on what you’ve written as soon as it goes up.

Yesterday I got the essence of the book by drafting this blog post, and then a happy synchronicity this morning affirmed the focus for the rest of the opening chapter, which is about the leaving the magical world of childhood and learning later to engage with it again.

Someone had posted a comment on my article ‘The dream and the writer’s trance’ which said, ‘I used to slip into the writer’s trance rather easily when I was a child but now I find it harder to get to that state’ (thank-you, Sehena)

So if you know the abc of writing an introduction but you just can’t seem to boil it down, write a blog. That was the key for me.

Thank you for reading and joining in :)

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2 thoughts on “How to write an introduction”

  1. Very good advice on blogging here! I started blogging in the first place to jump start the writing process for my own “explorations” and art, even though I write professionally educational material for others, etc. It wasn’t enough for me to simply write and save it in a computer file … cold storage. I felt I needed to feel the warm awareness and presence of others (regardless of whether anyone actually reads the blog or not – which is not the point of following one’s artistic whims in the first place). Your comment very much resonated with me: “I love the feeling that you can take your explorations as far as you want to go, into layers of myth and beyond, pushing back the limits of your courage, curiosity and skills….” .

  2. Thank-you for commenting, Jay :) ‘The warm awareness and presence of others’ is the surprise bonus I found pretty much immediately when I started this blog, and blogging quickly changed from feeling like something I ought to do because authors these days need a ‘platform’ to a vibrant part of my normal writing practice (I really like your blog, btw)

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