How I Write with Mark DuPré

HTALAGU Front CoverHow I Write – Interview with Mark DuPré
Author of How to Act Like a Grown-Up

In the fall of 2012 I had the wonderful pleasure of working with Mark DuPré to publish his book How to Act Like a Grown-Up. Below is an interview with Mark about how he writes.

Why did you write your book How to Act Like a Grown-Up?
I wrote the book out a genuine concern for the younger generation. As a parent, professor, and pastor I saw certain perspectives they were lacking. Some of the problems were humorous. Others troubling. Either I could lament or complain about it, or I could make something available as a genuine help to guide those who really want to grow up.

What do you like the most about the book? What will other readers find interesting?
Most people respond to the humor in the book. They also like the short, readable chapters that you can digest piece by piece.

How did you write the book? What was your writing process?
It began as a blog. I did that on purpose because a blog every week forced me to produce something. Sometimes I would write three or four blogs at a sitting; other times I did the blog post the night before it was due.

My desire was to begin a dialogue about these important issues. I wish we could get a national dialog on these issues, which is why I created a discussion guide for each topic (click here for access to the PDF). At a minimum, I hope to inspire a parent-to-parent and parent-to-child dialogue. The guide is also great for group conversation.

What was something you did that really helped you write the book?
A structure of having to write every week was helpful. No one was giving me a deadline, so I needed to impose upon myself a time to write.

What did you find was the greatest hindrance to getting the book done?
I’m a busy guy, so the greatest hindrance was the busyness of life. The hardest thing was not the writing, it was forcing myself to make time to sit down and write. My wife was very supportive and gave me time to write. Hindrances are the distractions of life. I had to push them away to give myself structured time to write. Even if I didn’t have a long time, I was able to take thirty minutes and write something.

Another hindrance was my own personal perfectionism. I had to learn just to write and then to re-write later. If you’re a perfectionist, try to put that aside and just write knowing that you’ll be able to go back and make changes. The first edition of anything is not going to be the final.

What do you feel is your greatest strength as a writer?
There are three things that stand out to me. 1. Because I’m a serious musician, there is a musicality—an energy, a percussiveness, a style—that I bring to my writing. 2. I have a dry sense of humor that others enjoy. 3. I’ve reached a certain age where I have varied experiences to share and they can overflow in a literary way. Some can do that at a younger age, but for me it took longer.

What are your writing goals for the future?
Columbia University Press has expressed interest in publishing a revised version of the master’s thesis I wrote about thirty years ago. It’s a study of the three films co-directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen—the most famous of which is Singin’ in the Rain. I focus on the role of singing and dancing in the films and how the music is used, especially in relation to film language.

I want to write a daily devotional in 2014, sharing what I know God has shown me over the decades—truths, teachings, and perspectives—in short daily readings for a full year.

I’m also thinking about writing a book about parenting adult children.

What is an interesting fact about you as a writer?
I’m a serious musician. I also love movies and am a movie critic (see I’m creating a series of teaching videos around movie-related themes. People can stay tuned to or for updates and when they’ll be released on YouTube.

What is one tip or trick that has helped you that you can share with first-time authors?
If you’re not sure of your writing skills—or even if you think you are, before you write too much, bounce your writing off a few trusted people who are knowledgeable and understand what you’re trying to do. And take their input seriously. Don’t be the person who writes a book and then has to swallow the hard truth that your writing is horrible.

What was the greatest thing you learned while writing your book?
Due to miscommunication with a proofreader, my manuscript was edited far deeper than was needed, which proved detrimental to my “voice.” I’ve been insecure my whole life, so for me to have to stand up for my own literary voice was quite the experience. Instead of folding and saying, “Yes, yes, you’re right,” this was the first time that I said, “No, I know my voice.” It was a great lesson in what my voice is. If nobody wants to read my voice, that’s one thing. But I’m not going to change it to try to fit someone else’s view. I’ll try to be clearer and better, but I’m not going to change or dull my voice just because someone else doesn’t approve.

Who should read this book?
This book makes a great gift for a graduating high school or college senior. Many adults who have read the book say that they wish they’d had this available when they were growing up, or had it when they were raising their children.

Book Description
Are you not quite as ready for the adult world as you want to be?
Are you a grown-up who doesn’t feel like one?
Do you know someone else who needs to act like a grown-up?

With humor, occasional bite, and a deep desire to be helpful, this book is today’s manual for moving into adulthood. Filled with a mountain of practical advice, it’s a treasure trove of grown-up perspectives that many of us never got to hear on our way to twenty-one.

In twenty-nine short, easy-to-read chapters, author Mark DuPré takes what he’s learned the hard way and lays it all out there to help everyone of any age move closer to acting like a grown-up. Wise and witty, this book is one of the best gifts you could give — to yourself as well as to others.

Buy the book here.

mdupreAbout Mark DuPré
Mark DuPré has done a lot of things, and he gets tired just thinking about it sometimes. He’s been a magazine writer, editor, and industry trainer. Right now he’s a pastor, film professor, speaker, and musician. He’s motivated by a desire to help all people, especially young ones, become successful adults in every aspect of their lives. Mark has three children and an ever-growing number of grandchildren, even though he is still nineteen in his mind. He lives with his ever-patient wife, Diane, just outside of Rochester, New York.

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