Posted by on Jan 28, 2018 in The Shakedown Cruise | 1 comment

Morten Olesen, Master Boat Builder and Naval Architect, boils down the process of building a wooden boat into the following four steps:

  • Step 1: Choosing a Design – “What do you want to be the captain of?”
  • Step 2: Lofting – “Loftingis a drafting technique … whereby curved lines are generated, to be used in plans for streamlined objects such as aircraft and boats.” (
  • Step 3: Assembling – “There’s a method to the madness when it comes to organizing and assembling the pieces of wooden boat plans. … Assembling each section in the right order and using the correct materials and techniques makes all the difference in the world.”
  • Step 4: Laminating – “Boats made from wooden boat plans are created from individual pieces of wood. Those pieces have to be connected in order to have a finished vessel. … Since our creation will be placed in the water, connecting the pieces has to be both functional and also leak proof.”

“Can I Build a Boat? The 4 Basic Building Steps” by Morten Olesen, November 3, 2011,

It’s no great stretch to see how these equate to steps in the writer’s journey: Choosing your “design” (genre, point of view, etc.); planning and streamlining your story; organizing and assembling the pieces; and ensuring that those pieces are assembled in a functional and “leak-proof” manner.

To fill out the metaphor, I would add:

  • Step 5: Launching – “The process of transferring a vessel to the water. … it represents a considerable engineering challenge as well as a public spectacle.

  • Step 6: Navigating – “The art or science of plotting, ascertaining, or directing the course of a ship …”

The goal of a book launch is to make it as public a spectacle as possible! Directing the course your book takes with readers and in the marketplace is most definitely both an art and a science.

In the following chapters, I’ll provide practical guidance for succeeding in each step of this voyage.