Someone asked me the other day, how do you get that first book finished?

The dream most people have about writing is as follows: one day you will pick up a pen and sit down at a large mahoney/oak/cherry desk in a secluded cabin in the woods/on the beachfront/next to a lake and you will start to jot down all the wonderful stories that have been swimming around in your head over the years. Of course as you write, the stories will come out onto the paper just like they are in your head. Witty dialogue, characters with true depth, and descriptions that brings the whole scene to life will flow from your fingertips. And every time you write you will be motivated and inspired and there will be music and a breathtaking Sunset/rainbow/snowcapped mountain in the background.

It’s a beautiful dream. 😉 And when you start writing your first book you can hold onto the dream for about a day. As you are pounding away, you suddenly realize the awful truth – you truly suck. Everything you write sounds like crap, you have no idea what the hell you are doing and you would rather be visiting the dentist/cleaning the toilet/getting a pap smear than banging your head against the keyboard as you try to get that first page/first chapter/first book done.

Now you have some choices to make:

1. You immediately begin drinking, a true and tried technique used by many writers over the centuries.

2. You give up and pretend it was all a bad, bad dream. A very popular choice according to the statistic floating around that out of all the people who start a book only 1% finish.

3. You decide to go against your better judgment and keep writing.

If you picked option number three you now have to deal with more unpleasant facts.  Writing is hard work, you have to write whether you feel inspired or not, and if you want to improve, you are going to have to get feedback about your work.

Writing your first book is really not unlike deciding to climb Mt. Everest. You have to train, you have to be slightly insane, and you have to just be damn stubborn to get to the top. Most importantly you must refuse to stop even when everything in you body and mind is screaming at you that it’s impossible and you can’t go on. But instead of sitting down and giving up, you take another step. And then another. You keep climbing the damn mountain. Why? Just because.

As you keep pounding away on those pages family, work and life will infringe upon your time. You will convince yourself there are no hours left in the day for writing. But in spite of all that – you will write everyday. No matter what. Just because.

If you are a golfer, you golf. Chefs, cook. Writing is no different. Writers, write. You can talk about writing, think about writing, talk some more about writing, but the only thing that will get that damn book done is to put the words down on paper. Remember page one/chapter one/your first book are just some small steps on this very long journey you were foolish enough to begin.

The best advice I ever got — allow yourself to suck Most of the pressure you will feel while writing will come from within. You will want so desperately to be good at writing from the get go. But remember writing is no different than learning to ride a bike. You have to cut yourself a lot of slack, expect to fall on your ass at least a hundred times, and realize you will get better with lots of practice.

Now stop thinking, reading, talking about writing and go write. Go climb your own Everest and remember whatever happens get that first damn page/chapter/book done. Why? Just because.

Chaoscat writing as Samantha Storm –
Eye of the Storm – Available Now!
Murder, Mayhem & Mistletoe – coming Dec. ’06 NCP

5 responses to “Someone asked me the other day, how do you get that first book finished?

  1. Amen, Sister!

    And, as in anything else, as you practice, you build muscles and climb a little faster and quit falling so much.


  2. Well said, Samantha. You have motivated me to keep going. I will be in that 1%. No matter what, I won’t stop until my book is written. I can’t stop now, I can see the finish line.


  3. I agree – well said. If the voices inside your head drive you to write, then write you must, but it’s hard work. But very worth it in the end 🙂

    Welcome to all those other suicidal souls who hear the voices!

    Tina Gerow
    Sexy, Snarky, Sensuous
    Fire Maiden – Coming June 2006 in eBook & September 2006 in Print from Triskelion Publishing
    Knights of the Magical Realm: Warriors Gone Wild – Anthology coming October 2006 in Print & in eBook from Triskelion
    Stone Maiden – Available Now in Print & in eBook at Triskelion Publishing
    Into a Dangerous Mind – Available Now at Triskelion Publishing


  4. I love this post! You do a good job of telling it as it is.



  5. I never realized how hard it is to write a book. When I first started I thought this is going to be easy. Anyone can do this. Until I started to pull my hair out over scenes that just didn’t click. I’m not going to go into detail. We all know all the other problems that confront us as writers. So many times I wanted to quit and I’ve never been a quiter. I’d take a couple days off and still I found myself thinking about my story day and night. It haunted me. So I went back to writing. Whats tuff is I have essential hand tremour-I get days when I have trouble typing and I can only type using two fingers from each hand. It takes longer to get your thoughts down. But I’m determined to write. So what plagues us to write? The thrill of the story we need to share. Revealing our heart and soul. Our personality goes into so much of our writing. Some of us will make it to the top others will go crazy trying. But in the end no matter the outcome we’ve discovered new things about ourselves and life. It’s worth it.
    Susan P.


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