Recent research indicates that around 80% of people believe they have a book inside that they would love to see in print. Yet, the majority of these aspiring authors never get around to publishing anything. Are you among that majority? Haven’t written your book yet?
Maybe you haven’t written your book yet because writing a book feels like such a daunting task. You know going in, if you want to put out a quality product, that it’s not something you’re going to just throw together in a few minutes. Writing a book seems like … an endeavor. You may need to spend hours, days, or months on the background research alone, depending on your topic and the depth to which you plan to go in exploring it. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. You may have to travel. You may need to interview some subject matter experts and be able to reinterpret the complex information they share.
You may need to sit down and organize your thoughts and bring that vague idea out of the smoke and mirrors in the back of your mind and shape it into the concrete form of something serious.
Just the volume of preparation and expectation alone can hinder you from getting started. But that’s just a basic reason for procrastinating. And maybe it’s a reasonable one. But it will certainly keep you from starting your writing project.
Another basic reason you haven’t written your book may be not having enough time to write it. Too much life getting in the way.
But this is probably more excuse than reason.
We always manage to make time for the things we really want to do. If you really want to write a book, you’ll write it. Even if you have to write it one page or even one paragraph at a time. One toe at a time, like Gabriela Brimmer. Even if you only write it for personal satisfaction. Even if you predict no one on earth would be interested enough to buy it.
You’ll write it if you must. But not writing it is probably not really due to lack of time.
More likely, the reason you haven’t written your book goes much deeper, to a source that emanates from your core. Following are some reasons you may find hovering inside.
5 Reasons You Haven’t Written Your Book Yet
“I’m no authority. I have no right to write.”
This is the deadly Imposter Syndrome that lurks somewhere within the best of us all. It’s the fear that you won’t be taken seriously as an authority figure, that you aren’t enough of a celebrity to be a thought leader. Internal doubt and insecurity can creep up even in the most learned experts.
To get beyond it: Just make sure your research is sound. Check and double check your facts. Make sure your characters come across as real. Never assume anything not based on evidence. Organize your work and present it in a logical sequence. Remember that no one was born an expert; every expert started somewhere, knowing not much of anything. Becoming an authority is and should be a learning process that never ends.
“No one will care about my writing.”
Well, maybe not. But you don’t know that for sure. Sometimes the things we write that we think are brilliant go without a word of response and things we think are uninspired go viral. Go figure. But somewhere in this world is one other person who will agree with you. Somewhere your words will find and resonate with someone. Maybe with more people than you think. You have to send your words out there to find them.
If it’s burning in your heart to write it, do so. Don’t decide up front that it has to be epic. Just put forth the best effort you can to write it, make sure it’s well-edited, and see what happens. Epic can manifest itself at any time, show up with great fanfare, completely unannounced. Epic is a matter of opinion. You just have to keep writing.
“Nothing I write is/will be good enough.”
Now that’s just your inner naysayer talking. Inner naysayers are responsible for more stuff not getting done than we realize. Negative voices from the past and significant individuals in our worlds can fill our heads with negative thoughts that stifle and thwart initiative.
To get beyond that: Be single-minded of purpose and press on. The most widely read authors faced rejection of their work multiple times, some hundreds of times, before they achieved success. What they all have in common though, is that they wrote that first book and then they kept writing. They may have fallen down sometimes, lost both will and nerve for brief or extended periods, but they kept going. They kept crossing finish lines. They believed that success was still coming, that it would arrive right after the next sorry-it’s-not-good-enough.
“Writing invites critics.”
Truth is, no one in history has ever written anything that everyone agrees with. No one. You’re not going to write something that everybody in the world will love. You’re not going to write something that everybody in the world will even like. Just not gonna happen. Recognizing that going in makes dealing with all of the myriad responses easier.
The remedy for worrying about critics? Realize that the majority of critics are not your audience anyway. There will always be people who will disagree with you. What should matter to you is whether the criticism or disagreement has value and merit that you should consider … or it’s just mean and malicious. Mean and malicious adds absolutely no value to a conversation. Ignore it. And keep writing.
“Writing is … uncomfortable.”
Writing takes you out of your comfort zone. It requires a certain level of audacity, of assertiveness, to put thoughts down on “paper,” whether in a book, a blog, a seminar, or artwork, knowing it will be subject to scrutiny and opinion, and yes, critique and disagreement.
Not everyone is going to get you. Someone somewhere is going to be mad at you for what you said – or the way you said it.
But I believe our brightest destiny is most often found beyond the confines of our comfort zones. So if there’s a book in you and you find that you just can’t be at peace until you write it, then start writing. Extract your idea from within the smoke and mirrors of your fears and start bringing it to life.