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Whether we tap into our lived experiences or allow our minds to spin a yarn, writing a book is a magical form of art. Yet, whereas over 80% of the population say they have always wanted to write, apparently only 1% start and complete their book. Thought-provoking, isn’t it? If we were to gently dive into the thoughts of those who never start or finish their books, what might be their primary hindrance?
The good news is that as writers, we can bring together all our entrepreneurial and leadership skills and abilities from which to draw upon. Strategy development, time management, innovation, effective marketing, continuous learning, agility and managing change are some of the many business aptitudes that will enhance the life of an author.
Related: How to Write a Book (and Actually Finish It) in 5 Steps
The “aha” pieces of the puzzle
What are the steps we should take to realize our dream of writing that novel, manuscript or book? In my case, it was letting go of preconceived assumptions and embracing learning, growing and connecting with the vibrant writing community as an aspiring author. When my fingertips dance across the keyboard, the self-doubt evaporates into the admixture of words, characters, scenes and settings. A few months ago, I started writing my first book, a fictional novel. To my surprise, I finished my first draft in four weeks.
Let’s explore and transform seven common obstacles into “aha!” moments that will prompt you to write that book:
1. I don’t have time
Whether or not we love them, plans, structures and goals help us move forward. The same applies to writing a book. Can you find a window of time in your average day to create the time? Nothing earth-shattering. Can you set up a consistent writing pattern, perhaps a daily 30 minutes or a few hours every second day? If so, you are a step closer to your dream.
2. I don’t know how
Start with an idea, and there are methods, formats or templates available to develop that idea. I created an outline first and expanded from there. Some authors follow their impulses without an outline. There are helpful resources, such as writing software (like Scrivener) story development templates (like Save the Cat) and, of course, online grammar writing assistants such as Grammarly. And there is the vibrant writing community of editors, proofreaders, fellow authors and readers, all of whom can be of help.
Related: 9 Tips to Stay Motivated When Writing a Book
3. I need to be more creative
Over the years, this was a thought that I kept repeating to myself. Putting pen to paper is a process of learning and growth, much like the other facets of life. When I started baking sourdough bread, I did not expect my first bread to be edible; in fact, it was dense and flat. But my husband cheered me on and even proudly ate it. When editing, the experience can be daunting. It involves writing, rewriting, revising, editing and rewriting again. But it hones the craft. You have the option of working with professional editors who tell you if your story feels too vague or too flat. Not all successful authors are natural-born writers and neither am I. But I enjoy the growing knowledge enveloping me like rays of sunshine while I edit and refine my story.
4. My first attempt is/was not successful
It’s no surprise they are called messy first drafts. Unless you choose to share it, your first draft is just for you to read. I still love my first draft, though. At a writing seminar, the lecturer told us that our story would probably be dreary if we didn’t rewrite 90% of our first draft. So, when writing the first draft, the rule is to write, write and write. No fixing, no editing. This will prevent us from judging our writing too soon on the journey.
5. Publishing a book is too challenging
There are various publishing paths. The traditional route of working with an agent and publisher is one option, or you could access a specific provider who will help with writing, editing, publishing and marketing. There is also self-publishing as an independent author. There are success stories from all; it is up to us to choose the right course of action and enjoy the path we choose.
Related: This is the Future of Book Publishing
6. I am not comfortable putting my name out there
This is easy. Choose a pseudonym, a pen name. I have a pen name. For instance, many great writers like Stephen King and Agatha Christie used pen names. There is no universal rule; you choose what you feel most comfortable with.
7. I have other commitments
Many authors manage a successful career while still having other commitments, whether a full-time job or something else. Many become full-time authors and authorpreneurs. So, it is not impossible.
Whether it is a fiction or nonfiction book, the writing journey ahead is like an unwinding spool of ribbon, rolling and growing. As a result, my debut book will be meeting its readers in the summer of 2023.
Let’s imagine yourself sitting behind a table. You admire a stack of books in front of you. The room is bustling with excited laughter and chatter. A line of fans in front of you, one by one, and you are signing their books. Imagine hearing someone tell you how much your book meant to them. Imagine the spark in your eyes and the beam on your face.
Aha! It’s time to begin! Let’s start writing and crafting that tale that your future readers deserve.