Writing a Book

People tell me they have a great idea for a fictional book, but they are at a loss on how to get started. I have a sure fire, proven method to get your story from your head to paper. The first thing you must do is get a writing shirt. It must be stylish and comfortable.

After you have the perfect shirt for writing you need to get a second article of clothing to begin your writing adventure. It is particularly important if there are many people in your house. Nothing is more frustrating then to be banging away on the keyboard, “in the zone” and have you wife interrupt you to ask you what you want for dinner. The hat keeps your head warm and discourages interruptions.

Now that you are properly attired, you are ready to begin. There are basically two approaches:

                          1. Spend years making a detailed outline, character biographies

                                  calendar of events and story flow diagrams.

                           2. “Seat of the Pants” sit in front of the computer and start writing.

With the seat of the pants method, you have no idea what the story is about until you finish.

I did the second approach last year and in three months I had a book.

Loran Iwo Jim


Caves From one end to the Other

It is a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is five miles long. At one end is Mount Suribachi, the other Kitano Point. Due to thousands of hours of digging with hand tools, you can walk underground from one end to the other. When I assumed command of the island, I was told that going into the caves was dangerous. I discovered that many of my crew regularly explored the caves. One day Vinnie, a seaman, told me he made an incredible discovery. The next Saturday he and I went into the cave to see his discovery. The extraordinary battle for Iwo Jima, Japan took place twenty years ago. What he showed me was incredible. A section of wall had fallen and revealed a room previously undiscovered. Eight skeletons were gathered around a large wooden table with maps. Based on their boots, caps and what remained of their uniforms, they were Japanese officers. The U. S. Marines during the invasion, used flamethrowers and satchel charges to seal much of the caves.

Life’s Challenges

Yesterday I played for the first time, Duplicate Bridge. The tournament lasted four hours. When I got home, I drank two glasses of wine and went straight to bed.

In my book “What Rotten Eggs” I put forth the idea that the challenges that I had to deal with as commanding officer of a military base on a small, isolated island, gave me lots of confidence to deal with challenges the rest of my life. Since leaving the island I have faced most challenges with confidence.  Yesterday I had a unique experience. I have always wanted to play serious bridge. Two years ago, at age 81 I asked a friend if he would teach me how to play. At first, he was concerned that my age might make it difficult. I convinced him that my brain still worked. He taught me the basics. I played bridge on my computer. At the end of one year, I joined a bridge group. We played party contract bridge where there was little pressure and over time, I felt that I was a decent bridge player. After playing about forty sessions, I was ready to try serious Duplicate bridge.

In Duplicate bridge every team plays the same hand. The objective is to score higher with that hand than the other teams. I was teamed up with an excellent player and before we started, she showed me the procedures for using the bid box, card boards etc. With the first hand I was overwhelmed. My brain went into zombie mode. I made many mistakes. With each mistake my confidence waned. I guess there are challenges tougher than commanding officer of Loran Iwo Jima.  

What Happens When You Put Young Men on a Desolate, Uninhabited, Small Island in the Pacific

American scientists developed a fantastic electronic system for boats on the water, submarines under the water and airplanes in the sky. The navigation system was called Loran (Long Range Aid to Navigation.) It was extremely accurate, easy to use, and played a vital role in helping the Allies to win WWII. For sixty years it was the technology that allowed boats and airplanes to know where they were. It also allowed nuclear missiles on submarines and in bunkers to precisely hit targets.

During and after the war, Loran stations were established all over the world. Because the signal was so powerful, the Loran stations were in remote areas. The United States Coast Guard was given the responsibility to run the stations. Stations had as few as thirteen crew members up to

as many as forty-two. Most of the sailors were young and found it difficult to spend twelve months with no interaction with family, friends, or civilians. They were far from home, isolated and lonesome.

During the recent covid-19 lockdowns I was isolated, lonesome, and bored. It brought back memories of when I was the commanding officer of Loran station Iwo Jima, Japan. I wrote about that year on isolated duty in a book entitled “What Rotten Eggs”. It is interesting, entertaining and has many valuable insights. To learn about it go to http://www.danielmwhiteauthor.com

Feeback from Readers

Many years ago, I was the Manager of Planning and Scheduling for the IBM manufacturing facility in San Jose, California. I had an annual department meeting coming up and I was looking for a guest speaker. I read in the paper that John Madden had recently retired from coaching football and was starting a new career as a motivational speaker. I called and was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Madden agreed to talk to my department of 133 people for forty-five minutes. I believe it was his first speaking engagement.

My group at IBM were probably the first to experience a fantastic presentation by John Madden. His presentation was titled “Five Traits of Successful People.” His contract with me and IBM, stated he would speak for forty-five minutes and receive $1,000.00. It was probably the only time John was paid as little as $1,000.00. He was so interesting and so enthusiastic he was on the stage interacting with my people for two hours. My employees and I were mesmerized by John insights, exuberance, and his message.

He would talk about a trait and then back it up with examples from his coaching experience. One of his five traits is Successful people see what they do not want to see. On Mondays it was customary to watch game films. Most of John’s players, if they made a great one-handed catch would ask to back the film up and show it again. He had a rookie who always sat in the front row, and he did the opposite. If he missed his block, he wanted to watch it over and over again.

That rookie understood that you learn more from your failures than your successes. He was All-Pro Center and Hall of Famer Jim Otto.

If you are going to improve you must learn from your mistakes. When you write a book you make lots of mistakes. Game films for authors are the feedback they get from people that have read their books. I would love to hear from people that have read “What Rotten Eggs.” If you read the book, please click on Contact the Author. Let me know your thoughts.

The Hidden Mind

Most of us are aware of the conscious part of our brain. Have you given any thought to the subconscious part of your mind? Experts tell us that the human mind is like an iceberg – ninety percent of it is hidden. The hidden part is your subconscious mind which is the part of your brain that allows you to walk, eat, ride a bicycle, drive a car without consciously thinking about how to do it. In this article I would like to discuss your self image. It resides in your subconscious. Your self-image can be very important to your success or failure.

I worked for thirty years in the computer industry, so I like to think of the human mind as very sophisticated computer. The subconscious mind is like the hard drive of your computer. It stores data. From that data a self-image is formed. That self-image is based on what you see and hear. Your experiences and what other people tell you, your feelings, emotions, success, and failures all add data to your self image file. People make statements about themselves like: 

                                                I am good at math. 

                                                I am not good at making friends.

                                                I get too nervous to speak to large groups.

                                                When I am under pressure, I make mistakes.

                                                I perform best when the pressure is on.

The things you believe about yourself have a profound affect on how successful you are. If you believe you can do something, you have a chance to be successful at it. If you believe you cannot do something, even if you can do it, you will probably fail. Your self-image has a huge effect on your life. An example of the power of the mind was the Wimbledon final.

At the recent tennis tournament at Wimbledon, the men’s final was between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. Both players had excellent serves and outstanding all-around games. The younger player Kyrgios (27) won the first set over the more experienced Djokovic (35). All the games were close, and they seemed evenly matched, but Novak Djokovic won the next three sets and the title. I believe it was because he had a stronger self-image regarding his tennis performance. You could respond of course he had a strong self-image because he has won Wimbledon seven times and has twenty-one major wins. No question that data being stored on his hard drive will give him an excellent tennis self-image. But here is the interesting part, the part of your brain that houses your self-image is what is referred to as a robot mind. It does not question or filter the data. It just stores it. It does not differentiate between actual occurrences, and occurrences vividly imagined. 

You can change your self image. One way is to have lots of success like Djokovic. Another way to achieve a strong self-image is referred to as “Data Revision”. The technique is to hypnotize yourself and store positive data in your self-image. If you cannot hypnotize yourself, you can get deeply relaxed and vividly imagine yourself succeeding in the area you want to change. Often when an athlete wins a major event such as a golfer winning The Master, in the interview at the trophy ceremony he will say, when I was growing up, I spent hours on the driving range imagining I was leading on the last hole at The Master. You can call it daydreaming or another way to look at it, he was adding positive data to his golf self-image. You do not have to win Wimbledon seven times to believe you can win Wimbledon. Seeing yourself in your mind over and over again getting the winning point can make it happen.

In my book “What Rotten Eggs” the power of the mind and self-image is discussed.

Isolation can be deadly

Island of Iwo Jima

In 1945 there was a fierce battle with many casualties. Twenty years later there was another fierce battle with only a few casualties.

Many people have discovered that the lockdowns and isolation from Covid-19, have caused serious emotional and mental problems. The recently released book, “What Rotten EGGS” is a novel that takes place in 1965. It tells the story of a young Coast Guard Lieutenant trying to improve the moral and well-being of his crew. When he takes over as the commanding officer of Loran station Iwo Jima, Japan, he is faced with a challenging problem. Many of his crew members are not successfully dealing with the isolation of Loran duty. At that time Iwo Jima, Japan was the largest of the worldwide Loran network. It also was one of the most isolated.

The island was 700 miles from Tokyo to the north and 700 east of Okinawa. It was very small only ten square miles. The island had no civilians, no towns, or villages. There were no cell phones, no internet, no liberty and the only way to communicate with friends and family was by mail.

Some don’t make it, a few barely survive, then there are the ones that really thrive

The young sailors had lots of free time on their hands which sometimes lead to heavy drinking and other destructive behavior. To relieve the boredom and loneliness, the leadership of the base implemented many new off duty activities such as a softball team, tennis matches, a gym, building a music library and upgrading the food. There was a small improvement, but a huge problem still existed. After many months and many new ideas, they discovered a silver bullet.

Free Book signed by Author

FREE BOOK – First Edition signed by Author

Iwo Jima, Japan

“What Rotten EGGS” a newly release novel, tells the interesting story of what happens when

young men are isolated from friends and family.

The first person to correctly answer the question will win the book.

In 1965-1966 on Loran station Iwo Jima, when Dan White was the commanding officer,

what game did the officers and chiefs regularly play?

send your answer to wojeck@ix.netcom.com

Writing a book

As I approached the end of my one-year tour as commanding officer of Loran station Iwo Jima, Japan, I told myself that the past year was so unusual and challenging it would make a good book. I wrote notes in a notebook to use when writing the book. Shortly after returning to the United States, I started writing the book. I always liked to write but I had no idea where to start when writing a novel. I thought about a funny incident that happened and I wrote about it. Over the next few months, I wrote ten chapters. When I looked at what I had written it was unrelated stories, full of inconsistencies and looked nothing like a novel. In one chapter my protagonist was 26 years old and further into the book he was 25. I realized that writing a novel was a difficult task.  I put everything in a box and put it on a shelf. 

I purchased and read a few books of “how to write a book”. I attended a night class by an author explaining his approach to writing a book. Over the years I attempted a few times to write more of the book. I did not make significant progress. In the summer of 2021 the lockdown for the pandemic, was severe and I decided it was a good time to re-visit the book.To my surprise I found the words were flowing. I spent much of the day in front of the computer. In just three months I had written another forty chapters. I forgot about Covid-19. Everyday was a new adventure as the story unfolded. Writing a novel was no longer a burden. It was fun.