It’s not too late to start writing.
“And maybe you’re accomplished in many other areas, but sitting down to write just feels terrifying, it feels like you’re frozen. But what if writing a book wasn’t as hard as you thought?” – Azul Terronez
Did you ever have a feeling that maybe it’s too late to write a book? Or maybe that you’ve wanted to start, but you just didn’t have the strength or the energy or the competence to begin?
Every time I sat down to actually write or open my journal, just a few words would drop. I would work, I would take classes, attend workshops, read plenty of books about it, but never seemed to finish anything. I just figured I didn’t have what it takes. So I stopped until the yearning came again, years later.
Does this sound familiar to you? Listen in on today’s solo episode of “Authors Who Lead,” as I talk about how I wrote my book in 30 days and how you can follow the same plan, no matter where you are in life. When that idea comes to us, we need to pursue it.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
Maybe Writing a Book Isn’t as Hard as You Think
So maybe your ideas about writing a book are keeping you from taking action. In school, we are taught to be editors rather than writers. We are given instructions and guidelines to write, but not taught or given the opportunity to be creative. We are focused on what we need to do to make the grade, not on how to enjoy and be inspired by the process.
Another way we make the whole idea of writing a book hard is that we expect to be good at writing our book, even if we’ve never done it before. That’s a lot of pressure to put on ourselves. When we’re worried about what others will think of our book or if we will get reviews or sales, we can make ourselves freeze up before our ideas are even written down.
I Am An Author
The first thing I have our authors do is write down the words “I am an author” on a piece of paper that they can place right in front of them to see everyday. These four words are powerful because it tells you and your brain that no matter what comes up, you’re an author. Being an author is something that feels way different than anything else you’ve done, so when the fears and doubts creep in we need that reminder that these are normal feelings for an author.
The Prewriting Process
The prewriting journey of a book entails the ideation phase, the creation phase, and the planning phase. The planning of your book is important, but the idea and visioning of the book is the most important. Asking what is the joyful message or what you’re trying to inspire in others is a good way to get clear about your book’s focus.
Once you’re clear about what you’re trying to inspire others to do or have, then you can really get focused, because a book isn’t about the number of pages or words, it’s about the person reading the book. Your book becomes powerful and useful when it leaves the page and lives in the world with other people.
Planning is important, but without execution your book won’t get a chance to be born into the world. Getting your book idea out of your head to unclog the funnel is so important. The book exists within you, and the doubts, insecurities, and fears we have about bringing it out are the marbles that clog the funnel. If you don’t spend time realizing that there’s a block in the funnel before you write, then the block will always come up.
Researching is Not Writing
It’s all right to do research for your book in the prewriting phase, but don’t tell yourself this is writing. Researching, taking notes, and outlining are all part of the planning of your book. But that’s not writing.
Think about the actual writing of a book as only when you put one word after the other onto the page. I encourage our authors to think on the page, not in their heads once they get to the writing stage. Editing ourselves is also not writing. You can do the editing later. You’ve got to get good at getting words on a page if you’re going to be a writer.
Writing a Book in 30 Days
After the prewriting process is complete, I encourage authors to figure out how many words per minute they can write. They are often surprised that they can write more than they thought they could. I’m a pretty slow writer at about 28 words per minute. But this means I could write 1,680 words per hour. Why does this matter? Because, this means if I wrote every day at my speed, in 30 days I’d have finished a 50,000 word manuscript. That is how I was able to write a book in 30 days. Every day I wrote the number of words needed, no matter what.
That’s how I did it. I didn’t stress about if I should’ve written more or less or that it’s not very good. I knew that is what the editing process is for. My job was to just get the words down on the page.
November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where 50,000 words is what you need to finish in a month. NaNoWriMo is great because you can do all the prewriting and research you want beforehand, but it’s only the actual words written that count toward finishing your NaNoWriMo novel.
All authors have fears and doubts. We worry our books aren’t any good, or that we’re terrible writers. These negative thoughts will either destroy us or help us. If you understand that this is the way authors sometimes feel, then you’ll realize there’s nothing wrong with you. Once you understand that you’re thinking this way because you’re an author, then you’ll be better off. If you give into doubt and fears you’ll find yourself lost and insecure.
No one is good at something the first time they try. Let go of the idea that it’s hard or that it’s not meant for you. You are meant to write this book. If you keep persevering and writing every day, then you’ll get better and better each day.
And don’t worry about how it will get edited or published at this stage. Those are all things I used to think about, which would keep me from writing. It seemed like a noble thing to think about, but first, you have to be committed to finishing the book.
I hope that you are inspired, that you take action, that you no longer wait because the world’s waiting for your book. What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? In the comments, share your biggest challenge to writing your book.
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside you that needs to be written, know that you can write the book that’s been on your heart. Don’t delay – get out of your head and put words on the page today!