Blogger: Rachel Kent
Ever dream about writing a book but never given it a try? This blog’s for you. And it’s also for those of you who have an idea that you’re too scared or too busy to write. Whether you’ve published twenty books or never put a creative word down on paper, what’s keeping you from writing the book you’ve always dreamed about?
When I tell people I’m a literary agent, many of them say to me that they would like to write a book some day. It makes me wonder why they don’t just do it. If writing a book is one of your dreams, even if you do feel inadequate in some way, wouldn’t it be better to write it–even if it’s never published–than to never have written it at all?
So what keeps you from writing your manuscript? Is it a fear of:
putting the time and energy into something that might never go anywhere?
falling short of your expectations for the project?
not being as good at writing that type of story as someone else?
Or perhaps it’s not just fear that holds you back. Maybe it’s lack of motivation, laziness, or busyness.
Your story is unique to you, and it will be gone unless you write it.
I experience fears that hold me back, too. I don’t dream of writing a book, but I have other unfulfilled, scary-big dreams; so I understand where you all are coming from. Taking that one (possibly life-changing) step can be extremely difficult.
I’m a strong believer in pursuing dreams; if you have something you’ve dreamed about writing, I hope you will take the time to do so for your own fulfillment. I know you can do it. 🙂
Write one page a day and you will have a first draft done in a year or less!
If you have written a book, do you have any encouragement to offer to new writers?
Rachel, this is quite the funny post to wake up to this morning. I’m visiting Fairhope, AL – home to writers extraordinaire – and who do I stand behind for coffee yesterday? None other than Rick Bragg. The last time I saw him he autographed a book for me and wrote, “It gets easier.” I shared with him that I love writing but it’s hard. It is! So, thanks for this post. I’m working on my first book. Long process but I’m seeing it become a bit easier. I, too, am a believer in dreams and this one WILL come true.
Damon J. Gray
Rachel, I have a suspicion, but not a real certainty. I have heard those who proclaim their desire, or ability to whip out a book. There is often a mild hint of a swagger that says, “Yeah, I could knock out a book if’n I wanted to.” But either they know inside, or they attempt it and learn that it is far more difficult to write a well-conceived tome than they originally believed. You do not just “whip out a book,” and if you try that approach, it will go nowhere.
Whip it out using a cat ‘o nine tales?
Rachel, seriously…you want me to offer encouragement and generate MORE competition?
* This is a tough one; encouraging other authors isn’t hard because of a shared mental ambience, but answering the “I wish I could write a book!” issue…that’s really hard.
* I guess my first response would be to ask, “Why? Why do you want to write a book?” There’s no right answer, but there are a lot of wrong ones (putting aside the ones that are just silly, like a desire to be rich and famous,,,which was, in fact, MY motivation).
* And now, being as rich as John the Baptist when he worked his baptismal gig and as famous as the guy who rode with Paul Revere, I can say this…the best way to help a person who aspires to be a writer is to ask questions of her. Ask about motivation and the longing to creativity, ask about story and characters and the Easter Eggs of plot twists.
* And listen; listen for that person’s voice as she’s unfolding her dream, because listening is an affirmation, the kind that says, “What you have to say is important.”
* You can’t encourage anyone to write a book, but you can help someone talk herself into it.
That is great encouragement, Andrew. I love the thoughts you shared about listening and affirming. The comments about John the Baptist and Paul Revere made me laugh. Thanks for that as well. I needed a laugh this evening!
Fall in love with your characters. I wish there was some formula to give out, but I think it’s being with them each day, thinking of them constantly. Thinking of them in the grocery store, being in another world always. They become real, in a sense. When you fall in love with your characters, you’ll be excited to work on your project … maybe not every day, but most days. The black moment and reconciliation point are always my favorite parts to write, since I have them plotted in advance … that’s really the point that pushes me to finish the manuscript. I never write it ahead of time, but I take down notes constantly for that exact moment … and when I reach it, I’m ready.
They do become real! It’s like stepping into a parallel universe when I think about them. I love my characters, even the ones that aren’t likable because of the things they choose to do.
My first response when someone says they should write a book is “What do you want to write about?” Like Andrew says, listening is the most encouraging thing you can do at the start. I don’t know that any of my friends who’ve said that will ever try to act on the desire, but if they do, I’ll be delighted to share what I’ve learned along the way.
What a post! I’m working on your second statement, because I’ve started this adventure late in life. Long story short: sitting in my 2-D design class (art) in college and another art professor of mine comes running up the stairs and says, “Miss O’Brien you’ve won the so-and-so writing contest once again! You really should have gone into the literary field.” (In my 4th yr. of college, mind you, with all that cash invested). I did end up teaching art for close to 40 yrs.,–(it was to teach me patience).
With all of life’s huge circumstances barging in, I still am pursing it though. As if the Lord is telling me it will happen when His timing is right.
Good for you, Pat. 🙂
Pat, with all that art expertise, you’ll be able to know a superior cover design when you see it, and that is one of the biggest factors in stimulating someone to check out your book on the shelf or with a click. Great training for part of your new career! (My old day job gave me a high tolerance for uncertainty and short-term failure and the tech skill to run my own websites. Funny how God prepares us for future callings.)
Pat, I recently retired after 42 years of working in the medical field and for a government agency. I did get an English degree, which helped me in every job I’ve ever had (nice to be able to read and write). But, in many ways, I feel like my life, and first book, are just starting.
I have 2 books that I have completed. One is more complete than the other, but I am sure you don’t care. One is a novel, the other is a beginning reader’s picture book. The picture book has been sent off to a publisher, the novel is waiting for a Lit. Agent to snatch it up, if I ever finish editing it Janet. (smile)
Janet’s blog “Why you might not be ready to succeed.”
I just started reading/listening to “Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott.
Bird by Bird, so far, is depressingly funny. Is it okay to use those two words in that way? It is how I am felling right now. What I am getting from this experience: If you want to be a writer, you need a steel drum protecting your emotions or I imagine you will collapse. (Sounds like Winnie the Pooh)
I happened upon your group a few days ago, and really enjoy everyone here!
It is through worship we find strength. It is through fighting we lose our way. MAC Cottrell (the main character in my novel)
Thanks so much, Shelli and Carol! And a hello to Betsy! Am new here too; (2nd time). and the folks are friendly, the posts are really useful and thought-provoking as are the conversations/comments.
Carol, I admire your tech skill; great for application to book cover design or children’s book illustrations too.
When a book lives within you, and you wake up in the middle of the night facing the characters who sit in your mind house demanding to be heard. Take it from me, you need to sit in front of that white blinking screen and type. This fabulous story is within you, it’s your duty to share it with others. I didn’t settle down to write until I crossed the big 50 and now you have to drag me away from the keyboard. I’ve written and published thirty-two books since 2012.
As a strong believer in goal setting and achieving accomplishments one small goal at a time, I’d say set small goals and keep going until you meet them consistently. Then set bigger ones. Keep going, keep pressing on. If you were meant to write that book, it’ll get written. At the very least you’ll work on your patience and determination.