"Was it hard to write your book? I don't think I could ever do it..."
If I had one dollar for every time someone asked me that! (I would have circa. $15 I suspect). I get this question now and then. There are two parts to it and both parts are intriguing to me.
Firstly, the premise that writing a book is hard. Lets clear that up right away. Writing a book is not hard at all. Its very easy. You devise a topic or a theme, outline 10 chapter headings or so (and these can change), list out around 10 points per chapter you want to expand on (this is useful for non fiction) and then...you start writing. And that's it. Simple.
Now, is it hard to write a good book? Well, I wouldn't know. I haven't managed that yet. So I will let you know when and if that finally happens. I suggest writing a good book is a lot harder though, yes.
So, step one - just write. Don't edit as you go. Don't judge it (because its always a bit naff first time out of your head). Just dump the words down. You will finesse it during editing. Ok? Good. Now go and do it.
Part two - "I could never do it". This is where things get a little more complex. Presumably, if you have thought or uttered these words, you have also given thought to the idea of you writing a book. This is good. There must be a desire buried in there somewhere. Some creative juice needing to ooze out. A story that needs to be told perhaps. How exciting!
And yet there is something stopping you. This is not just simply 'writers block', this goes deeper. Its a confidence thing. Its fear based. No doubt. I know, I have the same issue.
I postulate that the fear lies somewhere in this list or a derivative of one of these points:
I might suck at writing.
What if people don't like it?
What will people say?
What if no one reads it? (actually if your writing sucks that might be a good thing...)
What if it is a roaring success, smashes Harry Potter out of the top 1, and I become famous and fabulously rich, and have to buy shoes and horses and jets...? Oh the agony of it.
If I may be permitted to share my thoughts on overcoming these. Firstly, your writing may well suck. Mine does. Its considered passable because a) I practiced writing enough utter tosh that I managed to improve a modicum over time. Secondly, don't force it. Don't try to write well, just write in your voice. How you might tell a story or how you talk to yourself when you think no one is watching you (weirdo).
Just be natural. You'll get better. I run my writing past friends and ask them for honest feedback. Fortunately none of my friends are honest with me so I continue to write, blindly ignorant to my shortcomings...I jest. But just enjoy the process.
Some people will like what you write, some people (probably in equal measure) will be neutral or will dislike it. That's the game of it. You won't please everyone...and besides who are you actually writing this for anyway?
I tend to believe that it's more about a personal desire to write a book, than a desire to satisfy the literary needs of your peers. I could be wrong of course.
Hmmm I think there is a book in that...
P.S. I will have a new book coming out in 2018. Co-authored by the enigmatic Steve Blakeman and taken to market by our agent, Piers Blofeld - wish us luck
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