This might be the standard line when one meets an author. Napoleon Hill said, “The start of all achievement is desire.” Appropriate for those who desire to write a book. And according to surveys, 83% of all Americans believe they have a book inside of them. Perhaps people say this to an author because part of them wants to have a sounding board, someone who would listen to their idea and not think it is impossible. The other part of them look at artists with awe and curiosity.
One of the first things someone will ask an author is when do they write. Some people have a certain place, a particular time. All that is fine, but when it matters, do the words land on the page or the computer screen, or are there more excuses than punctuation rules in the English language? We, as a society and as the human race, excel at procrastination. There will always be something or someone that will insert itself between us and our creativity, if we allow it.
There has never been a desire that did not demand some action for it to manifest in reality. A law degree, owning an SUV, hiking the Grand Canyon, losing twenty pounds, meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right, or taking a dream vacation all begin as a “want” but require “work” to move into tangible form. If the desire is strong enough, and we feed it, it will be our next achievement. However, there is no guarantee that it will arise exactly how we envisioned it, but that is half the excitement.
If we are serious about “writing a book”, then here are some questions to consider:
1) Why do you want to write?
2) What do you hope to gain, or have others get, from your writing?
3) How often do you think about writing anything?
4) Do you keep a journal, have you taken a class, attended a workshop?
5) What are you willing to give up in exchange for what writing demands?
6) Does it push at you, consume your thoughts, keep you up at night, or do you think it might be cool to write and publish a book?
All these questions are directed to determine the level of desire for this accomplishment. Perhaps it is feeling the pressure of the muse that dwells in creativity, and, unsure of an appropriate outlet, people say, “So, I’m thinking about writing a book.” There are myriad avenues one can use for creativity to form. If writing doesn’t suit, perhaps painting, drawing, sculpting, dancing, or singing will free that which has become trapped because we, as humans, ignore the “work” and allow procrastination to decide how we spend our time.
If you’re in the group of “thinking about” and not yet doing, go back and answer the set of questions above. If your desire becomes strong enough, or you’d like to explore what to do next, here are a few suggestions:
1) Write down you idea(s)
2) if it is nonfiction, read through notes or interviews or organize pictures that will be included in the book
3) fiction writers could begin with listing characters and setting and what might happen in the story
4) begin a list of possible titles
5) write every day (and if you continue to devise ways NOT to write, then investigate another outlet for the creativity that has gotten your attention)
6) STOP the fear of judgement, of failure, of success.
If the “doing” elicits bubbles of joy and ease and fulfillment (if how/what you write is cathartic, then these feelings come afterward), if it comes willingly, though with some “work”, then ride the flow. Write your book. End the thinking and begin the doing. However, if the “doing” becomes a chore, more painful and uncomfortable than a stubbed toe, direct your attention to another modality. Creation should always be expressive, joyful, require a little work, the desire overriding the procrastination, the action manifesting the want.