Tuesday, June 1, 2021

It's June! Is your book written yet?

Happy first official day of summer! (I say this so often, but I'm saying it again. How did it get to be June?)

June 1, 2021—and I just finished another, nearly final! draft of Book 1 of my new Golden Gate series. 


Always a bit of a miracle, finishing a book. And this one is pretty epic. I should definitely be out celebrating. But it's a miracle I've come to expect, because I've made it happen often enough that there's no reason NOT to believe I'll do it again, and again, and again.

That's lucky, I know. A lot of people would love to write books, but never get there.

As an author, I tend to think, Well, not everyone's cut out to be a writer. Sometimes I even think, Why would you be a writer if you could do anything else? 

It's such a weird thing to do! It's not that easy to sit in a chair (or in bed!) for eight or ten hours a day and give your whole consciousness over to a story. It's both numbingly static and a constant, relentless expenditure of energy. And it takes such a long, long time.

But there is nothing more satisfying as finishing. Bringing your characters and their world to life not only for yourself, but for anyone who picks up the book. It's just magical.

And as a writing teacher, it always gnaws at me. What keeps people who have perfectly great ideas from getting to a finished, published book? And the lifelong career that hopefully comes after that?

I meet so many people who I would have thought were a slam dunk for publication, and year after year I hear from them or about them one way or another and—still no book.

So, I'm asking. Is your book written yet?

Why not?

Seriously. Why not? 

Most spiritual teachers I know would say— You know why.  You always know.

So name it.

    -    Is time? The kids? Your spouse? Your job? Your health? Are you not even writing 15 minutes a day, or even 5?

    -    Is it fear? Do you not want to find out that you can't do this thing that you so want to do?

    -    Are you stuck? Do you have half a book, a quarter, or even a full draft—but have no idea where to go next?

    -    Or have you already written a book, or several, that you know are not good enough? Are you worried you'll spend six long months pouring your heart into another book, only to find once again that you can't sell it?

    -    Are you thinking that you'll have to learn this whole scary self-publishing thing on top of having to write the book to begin with and it's just too exhausting for words?

I really am asking, because I really think you should ask yourself. If your book isn't written, why not?

Asking the question is always the first step to fixing it.

- Alex



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