I’ve always wanted to write a book. I actually did write a novel, back in 2003, but it sucked and was rejected by several publishers. It didn’t take me too long to give up trying to get it published.
Today that novel sits in a cardboard box in the back of a closet. It’s been sitting in that box for 13 years, its 300+ pages becoming brittle with age and the corners of the box it dwells in now bent and taped together. A few years ago I pulled out the typewritten pages and re-read the novel. I cringed with embarrassment over how bad it was. Not just bad, but atrocious. It was shallow, self-indulgent, had no flow; was full of cliches, stilted dialogue, and purple prose; and populated with unlikable, annoying characters. It will probably never see the light of day again and most certainly will never be published. But I still can’t bring myself to toss it out with the recycling. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that I can finish something that I started.
I’ve done a lot of writing in my life, but that one shitty novel was my only attempt to write an actual book. Although I’ve always wanted to write a book, it just seems so daunting. I always find excuses: it would take too long, I don’t have time, it wouldn’t be any good, I’m not really that good a writer, no one would read it, I’m bad with opening paragraphs, I’m bad with endings, I don’t have the money, I don’t have good ideas.
But excuses are just lies you tell yourself. None of the aforementioned items have any truth to back them up. I have a blog and a following, these days you can self-publish an eBook on Kindle at little to no cost (a print version can always come later), and after a year and a half of blogging, my writing has vastly improved. Some days I have so many ideas for new posts that it makes my head spin. I spend most of my free time writing anyway, so why am I not writing a book? I really can’t think of any good reasons not to.
So I know what my next step must be. I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll do a compilation of my best or most popular posts, or write something from scratch. I have a feeling I’ll go with the latter, but might incorporate a few of my blog posts into it. I haven’t decided what my book will be about yet either, even though I do know it will be connected to this blog’s content in some way.
One thing that’s stopped me before is the thought of having to write hundreds of pages of prose. But with an eBook or even if I self-publish a print version (which I think costs money but I’m not sure), I don’t have to write something that long. I’ve read or reviewed a few books that were self published by bloggers, and few exceed 100 pages.
Another thing that makes writing a book seem like a chore is the lack of immediacy. When you write a blog post, you get instant feedback. Likes, comments, and views start coming almost from the minute you hit Publish. You can monitor your stats after a very short time. With writing a book, no one sees it until it’s published, and that could take a long time. I’m not a patient person, and I hate having to wait for feedback. But that doesn’t seem like a valid reason not to write one.
So all I have to do is make the choice to sit down and instead of opening up WordPress to write a new blog post, open up Kindle instead and write the first paragraph of my book. I never thought I’d start a blog either, and one day I just decided to do it. I think that’s how writing a book is going to work too.
When I do start to write, I will probably not be able to write new blog posts as often and might even have to take a break from it to concentrate on the book, but I’ll let everyone know when that happens.