It’s something every author hears from friends, family, fans, bartenders.
And we usually say “You can do it!”
But really, we know you can’t, or won’t. Writing a book is an odyssey. Just like most people could fight if they needed to, but won’t because they don’t have to. You probably won’t write a book.
But I want to believe in you. So…when are you going to start writing your book?
“When I’m ready.”
You aren’t ready?
“Because blah, blah, fear, doubt, insecurity, busy, need xyz experience, work, money, kids, school.”
“When there’s more time.”
Friend, brothers and sisters, cousins and aunts, fans and haters, bloggers and aspiring authors; I have great news for you…
My first book, A Thousand Tiny Failures, took me fifteen months from start to finish. I wrote the first draft in three months, penning about 500-2000 words per day.
I re-wrote that book twenty-nine times, from start to finish—making love to every single paragraph—until I had a book that I felt would compel readers to flip the pages straight to the end.
Too bad I spent two years thinking about writing it. I could have written two more books in that time.
But you—you’re ready now. The time has finally arrived for you to start.
Think about time. How long have you been thinking about writing a book? How many hours, weeks, months, years?
I know you…
So insecure. So full of doubt. That you are a shitty writer, that you have nothing to say, that you need to read a few more books about writing, or watch another YouTube vid, or read another blog post. When really what you need to do, is start writing.
Unplug The Internet. Hide the Xbox and DVD player. Turn off your phone. Basically, remove any distraction. If you have kids, consider a kennel.
Open your word processor, and write. Write the worst paragraph in the history of paragraphs. Just start trying. Be awful at it.
Write before you research, before you flesh out the plot, before you spend another two years thinking about writing. Start right now. Who cares if it’s awful? Because here’s the secret of great writing:
It’s all about the re-write. And you can’t re-write if you don’t have a first draft.
No matter how bad you want to stop, do not stop writing! No Facebook, no texting, no bathroom trips, no brewing coffee. Do nothing but write for at least thirty minutes. Set a timer. Turn off all distractions and write.
If you do this, you are officially writing a book. It’s up to you to do that every single day and night, until your first draft is completed.
It’s easier to carry on than to start. Become addicted to your creation. Be your own biggest fan, critic, cheerleader and muse.
We all face resistance. And there are resources for that. But the greatest ally in the quest to write your first book, is to open your word processor, and start writing it.
Your first book doesn’t have to be long, or even any good. You could write a really, really short book and have it on Amazon in three months or less. Use a pen name. Write the worst book ever.
The new model for authors on Amazon is to write short, 15k-30k books, and release them in serials. So, if you pumped out 1000 words per day, you could have a first draft in a month. Then as a rule, add double that time for re-writes and polishing, editing, design, and marketing—and you will have a little book in three months.
And if it sucks, take another month, and re-write it. Polish the turd until it shines. What else are you doing anyway? Write your fucking book already.
You’re not ready? You will never be ready.
You need to develop discipline, and crank those words out, every day. And if you don’t get them out in the day, do it at night. But write. Write, and write, and write. And when you can’t write, re-write.
You. Go write your book.
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