I had a book published before I knew how to write. I submitted a concept, chapter outline and sample chapter to a local Chicago publisher who liked the idea and drew up a contract.
The Terms said I would produce a completed work in a reasonable time frame in exchange for money. The selling points of the book: the concept was original, the voice whimsical and the topic timely.
What I didn’t factor when I jumped into the project: I didn’t know how to write, spell or use grammar properly. Some ideas were quirky and unsophisticated. In the scope of one’s lifetime achievements and body of work, this would be considered a boner.
But back then I thought it was Amazing! An Opportunity! A step in right direction!?
The point is, I wrote a book that was published in one easy lesson..I shut up, sat down and did it.
Maybe you have a book stuck in your head..your heart, in a drawer or on a cocktail napkin -
Here are top reasons why you are not writing your book and what you can do about it.
1) It’s already written in your head (the hard part) and the actual doing of it is just a formality. ”The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Thomas Edison
2) It will suck. You know this secretly so it lingers in Never Never Land until you change your mind. Which you might. Which you should because – so what if it sucks? If it does you’ll improve it.
3) It will be brilliant if you can just find the time and bandwidth. OK and this one is to the geniuses… Will you please share with the rest of the class? And to the non-geniuses – DITTO.
4) It will be important – which it probably will be - so would you mind honoring your expertise, depth or perspective enough to deem it relevant enough to YOU to do it?
5) It will be unimportant. The irony here is that it already is important.
6) It’s written and got stuck in the weeds of subsequent drafts – so why not hand it over to someone with perspective and get it done?!
7) It doesn’t advance your career – it feels like a side road. Read Steven Pressfield and The War of Art – it’s a brilliant book on breaking through blocks and his own internal argument for veering from screenwriting to write this very book.
Here’s my advice on how to write a book in one easy lesson. Suspect you can do it (isn’t that a nice low jump?) and set aside time each day to write – a page, a paragraph, a sentence – each day, on the schedule…a step that advances the work.
Don’t talk amongst yourself. You already know how that turns out. Just have the courage to sit down. If you need some coaching around sitting down, practice sitting down and then getting up and then sitting down and getting up.
My doctor told me a story about a little boy who was discovered in gym class to be an amazingly fast runner. He trained hard and was dedicated. But each time there was a track meet he’d forget his shoes.
Courage is not a concept, it’s a muscle that strengthens with use.
Just bring your shoes to the work and when the gun goes off, do your best.