If you’re like most people, you’ve dreamed of writing a book. The sad reality is most people don’t ever fulfill their book writing dreams. And if you’re reading this, I’d wager you’ve also stalled on starting and finishing your book. But why is that? What’s stopped you? It’s not a lack of motivation. Over the years you’ve internalized enough solid motives to get your book written.
It’s not a lack of time. If I ask you what’s happening on Scandal or House of Cards or 13 Reasons Why or whatever your favorite TV shows are I’m sure you’ll be able to fill me in. (No judgment here. We all have our vices.) The point is….you have time.
It’s not that you’re in a permanent state of writer’s block. That’s impossible. As Seth Godin wrote, “No one ever gets talker’s block.” It just doesn’t happen. Everyone has something to say, which means everyone has something to write. That includes you.
It’s not that you don’t know where to start. There are enough outlining tips, getting started blogs, podcasts, and books you can use for guidance.
So, what is it?
Fear disguises itself as an obstacle (lack of time, discipline, motivation, inspiration, etc).
I’m guessing you can relate to some of these thoughts:
I’m not a writer
I can’t write well
What if I don’t finish?
What if no one reads it?
What if people hate it?
What if I start writing and then run out of ideas?
What if people think I’m an idiot or fraud or illiterate or…?
Maybe I’ll end up sharing a story that hurts someone in my family
Maybe I’ll say something that goes against the industry and get black-listed
But my Journalism/English Literature/XYZ teacher once told me writing isn’t my forte. At the time, I believed her. I still believe her.
When I try to write, I feel stupid
When I published that last article, nobody commented. Maybe that’ll happen with my book, except they won’t even buy it
When I tell my loved one/friends/family that I’m writing a book, they laugh. Loudly
My platform isn’t big enough
My followers aren’t raving enough
My ideas aren’t original enough
On and on
I’m sure you can add to this list.
And you want to know something?
I can refute every single one of those doubts. And most importantly, so can you.
Let’s demolish most of them right now:
*You’re already a writer. There’s no pre-requisite needed, just the desire.
*There’s someone, somewhere, right now searching for a book just like the one you want to write. Except they won’t find it. Why not? Because you haven’t written it yet.
*You will face rejection and criticism. It’s inevitable. But guess what? You’ll live. I’m yet to hear of someone who died from being criticized.
*You don’t need to write a best-seller. In fact, you can write a cheesy book or one that you would make your mom cringe or a book about something so fun, but taboo and off-the-wall (if you’re into that type of thing). That’s why there are pen names. Choose one (I’ve done this twice, and the anonymity is so much fun).
*You can even write a book and never publish publicly, just share it with your loved ones, and use it as a stepping stone and for building confidence to write your next, which will be longer or more ‘professional’.
*Don’t be intimidated by size. Unless you have an agency book deal looming, you can write a short book with just enough in it to inspire/inform/entertain. I’ve done that, too, and it’s so rewarding.
I’m not telling you what to write, I just want to tear down the false notion that there is some out of reach, War and Peace type standard to writing your book. If you’re holding yourself up to standards like that, you’ll never measure up. Ever!
And who knows? Once you start writing, you might end up with a masterpiece. Or not. But you’ll never know unless you write.
“If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.” Cynthia Ozick.
To write consistently, deeply, you need to build writing courage. I say this over and over: writing courage is built one word, sentence, paragraph, page…at a time.
The more you write, the more confident you’ll be in your writing. There’s no other way.
If you have an unfinished manuscript buried in a filing cabinet, dig it up and flesh it out.
Got an idea for a book that’s been rolling around your head for years, time to start your research and outline. You don’t need to do anything else before you start.
I challenge you.
One word. And then the next…
*This article was originally published on my writing blog https://aliciajoy.net/real-reason-havent-written-book/