While in the midst of writing the first few chapters of a new book I’m working on, I’ve been reflecting on the past 10 years, since I first decided to actually sit down an write a book. And, in those 10 years, I’ve had a whole host of experiences that I feel are fairly unique to that of an author, or at least of an artist trying to find recognition for their work. And since I’ve had countless people come to me over the years asking my advice about what they should do with their desire to be an author, I thought it might be fun/interesting/hyper-depressing to start a little blog-series which goes over the process a typical author goes through from the moment they decide to write a book to, well, at least the 10 year point after that.
And, of course, the first step on wanting to write a book is to get that little weird niggling in the back of your mind that you want to write a book.
If there’s one thing I’ve heard most over the years, especially after I started letting people into my world of writing, it’s tales from people who simply know that they want to write a book. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many people have told me they want to write a book, that they are proud/jealous of me simply for doing something they want to do so badly.
This started happening long before I ever actually even considered taking the time to write a novel. Back when I was writing little sketches, short stories, poems, and feature-length films. Back when writing was just something I would do quickly and with very little finesse or editing. I would just put words to paper and figured that was good enough.
And because of the fact that I enjoyed writing so much, people, even then, would tell me about how much they wanted to write a book someday. I remember a boss I had back when I was working at a place that developed photographs from film (which, I guess, ages me), who loved to tell me about how much he wanted to write a book, and how he had this whole fantasy epic in mind, and he would give me these great big details about the world and the plot that he had already developed, without writing a single word of it down. He had obviously spent countless hours on his idea, thinking through how he could tell this story he had envisioned.
And me, being the guy who liked to jump in, regardless of whether I had any idea of what to do with the art after I completed it, would always tell him that he should just sit down and write it.
He, being much more pragmatic than I, would always talk about how he had no idea of how he would even sell the thing if he put in the effort, and that alone was enough to keep him from moving forward. While I would always give him my ideas on how he could possibly build a brand for himself (things, I’ll admit, I’ve never been very good at following through on for myself), he never actually moved forward on this dream of his, at least not while he was still in my life. I should honestly check up on him, find out if he’s alive or has written that epic fantasy.
I’ve also known numerous people, outside of my actual author circles, who did take the leap and did do the writing, and ultimately, just wrote for the sake of writing. These are people whom I’ve never seen make any attempt to market or sell their stories, just that they had a story they needed to get out, and so they did.
And then there’s the people who have countless stories they’ve started to write, but just give up on for one reason or another.
And finally, there are those few success stories. People who not only wrote the book, but figured out how to market it, and have actually managed to make something of a name for themselves.
The bottom line is that there are so many novelists out there, even if just basic friend circles, whether aspiring, accomplished, or in-between, that it really feels like there’s a solid story to be told about the ultimately heartbreaking and patience-testing industry which is that of publishing.
And so, I’m going to it to you.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a part of yourself somewhere in the midst of it all, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll recognize that you’re not alone in your feelings throughout this process. Because, based on the hundreds of conversations I’ve had with authors over the years, this industry is a painful one, but also one that can cause amazing joys.
So, let’s dig in and see what I can come up with. Because writing is one of my absolutely favorite things to do. And since I struggle to find more readers, maybe, instead, I can just find some more writers out there. Because you guys I understand.