…without worrying about getting published.
(And why that’s helpful.)
What’s the main reason for not writing that book you want to write?
A) Lack. (Lack of time. Lack of skill. Lack of money.)
B) Fear. (Fear that it won’t be any good. Fear that it won’t get published. Fear that it won’t be worth the effort and sacrifice.)
This blog post is for you if you answered B.
(Because all those
excuses, ahem, reasons stem from fear as well.)
The biggest fear tends to be; there’s no guarantee of the outcome.
This applies whether you crave the financial result, the prestige, or the personal fulfillment, satisfaction and sense of achievement.
(If you were guaranteed all of these – would you hesitate in writing your book?)
But every writer faces this dilemma: there is never a guarantee that it will be worth it.
Some writers may achieve a level of success that gives them a little more confidence to go for it, but even they can’t be sure. (Rich and famous writers do write books that flop.)
But if you’re a reader and booklover, aren’t you grateful that your favourite authors managed to overcome this common fear (or at least, carry on in spite of it)?
It’s possible that your future readers may feel the same about you and your book – but only if you write it!
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So, how to overcome this fear of disappointing results – or at least, get the book written regardless?
One way is to: Drop that Publishing Deal Paralysis
The daunting prospect of getting a publisher is quite often enough to stop wannabe writers before they even start.
They may quote industry statistics of slush piles, or how many books there are to compete with, or the failure rate, even of published books.
Whilst these statistics may be true, a fair number of writers do get published and new books do get bought and read and loved on a regular basis.
It’s impossible to know whether you will get a publishing deal – but it does happen!
So, if you can’t be sure either way, why not err on the side of optimism? At least that way, you’re more likely to write your book. (Plus optimism is good for your health.)
Besides, with the new era of self-publishing options, that elusive publishing deal is no longer the only way to reach your readers or sell books.
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Another helpful thing to remember when contemplating a book – at any stage – is this:
Writing is not the same as publishing.
Writing a book is one thing. Publishing a book comes later.
Your book doesn’t need to appear on the page in it’s polished and perfect, final draft form.
The first draft may be total rubbish. Ernest Hemingway had this advice for an aspiring writer;
“I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times.
You’ve got to work it over.
The first draft of anything is shit.”
It doesn’t matter how bad your first draft is, no-one has to see it.
But you can’t have a polished finished version without starting somewhere, with something.
So let it all out, as raw and rambling as it may be.
Don’t worry about what people will think, that’s only a concern when/if you publish it. (The bit you’re fretting over may end up being moved, removed or transformed.)
Don’t censor the words as they come tumbling out. The time for that is later, you’ll have first, second…. twentieth drafts – plenty of opportunity to tidy it up, improve it or delete anything that makes you squirm.
It’s only the quality of the finished work that matters.
It doesn’t matter what it looked like to start with.
It doesn’t matter how many drafts and edits and changes you need to make.
It doesn’t matter how confused or lacklustre the material may be when you first get going.
What matters is that you write it.
Only then can you work on it and make it better.
You can’t edit or refine imaginary sentences. You need to get something, anything, down on paper first.
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And finally – Remember the love
Why do you want to write a book in the first place?
This is a popular goal and whilst it can be a savvy career option or financial tactic, it usually stems from a love of writing.
If you love to write – write!
Regardless of the outcome, the actual process of writing is worthwhile if you enjoy it.
Many pursuits have no tangible results yet offer a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment. (Note: many hobbies pursued with passion ‘accidentally’ lead to successes and unexpected outcomes.)
You can judge your results on how the act of writing improves your life, rather than how having written will effect your life.
Creative expression is a basic human need and plays a significant role in our overall happiness and contentment.
If you write purely for the love of it, it can never be a waste of time.
• • •
So, why is this helpful?
If you fixate less on what will happen at the end of the process, you can relax a bit and give your full attention to writing your book.
(Ironically, since stress limits creativity, taking the pressure off may naturally enhance your results.)
When you stop worrying about what will come of your efforts, you’re more likely – and able – to just write the book. And enjoy the process.
By all means, consider your reader and learn your craft as you go along, but keep writing regardless.
Because when you keep putting actual words on pages – however long it takes, and whatever the results – one thing is certain:
you will write your book.
Next post: How playing Creative Dress Up can inspire you to finish your project.
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