Five myths to overcome when writing your first book
Many people live exciting lives, have great vision or imagination and are compelled to seek the long road of writing a book. Writing your first book is an especially daunting task. Where to start? How do you proceed? What if writer’s block hits? And will I ever find a publisher? These are just a few of the myriad of questions that keep would-be authors away from the keyboard and awake at night as they wrestle with conquering the page.
Let’s begin from the rejection pile as it were: Things Not To Do. If you can eliminate some lethal, bad habits, maybe you can free your fingers so they can dance joyfully over the keyboard once again. Are you game? Here are five myths you will need to overcome when writing your first book:
Myth 1: Writing a book is like giving birth- one word at a time.
Please let go, live free, and anticipate that this will be the first of several, if not many books. Do not agonize over each word. Let yourself experience the process of writing, revising, writing, and revising. Because after months of careful planning and work you must realize that at a certain point you have to kick that book out of the nest and let it fly.
Myth 2: Writing a book is ugly business.
Enjoy the writing and when you get stuck, no longer are enjoying it, or are otherwise bogged down, change your scene, write a different section, go outside, or sing a song. You have hopefully elected this process of writing, therefore enjoy it. It could be so much worse, imagine if you were digging trenches with your bare hands. This is easy in comparison. Enjoy! Change the pace to provide freshness and vigor to your writing. For instance alternate between difficult, easy, creative, and menial tasks so that no single one dominates your day.
Myth 3. Top Secret: Protect my work from the light of day.
Quite the opposite, invite friends, family or colleagues to read your work and critique it. Discuss it with those who will talk to you about it and give you feedback. The more you discuss it, the more fully you will develop it and see any gaps or inconsistencies in your writing. Great writers know and use the power of proofreading and critique to their benefit.
Myth 4. I have to know the entire book before I start.
From experience I know my content well, but I always leave open new ways for my books to develop and evolve as I work through them. I have a vision and detailed outline for each book, but I also weave in new insights, experiences, and current events. And if your books have characters in them, don’t restrict their behavior before they come alive on the pages — allow the m room to grow through your work! Let that book outline and framework be flexible enough to improve as you breathe life into your book as th words spill from your fingertips, to the keyboard, onto the monitor.
Myth 5. Publishers are always correct.
On the contrary, they are people! Read your contracts, be part of professional associations to know what the usual terms are and when you know your content is right, stand up for it. There are scores of cases where publishers turned down books as “trash” which later became best sellers.
Onward to Success
Print off these points, tape them next to your monitor, and let them inspire you to keep on moving through and enjoy your writing project. Live your dreams of writing. Whether you are writing 30 minutes a day, or 10 hrs a day, I urge you to overcome the 5 myths described above and discover the freedom of your voice, write to your audience, and enjoy the experience.
Dr. Kathleen P. King (EdD), Certified Coach, Author, Keynote Speaker, Professor of Education, is an award-winning author of 17 books (3 more in process at this time) and a dynamic, interactive keynoter, and author who invigorates audiences on a variety of professional topics. Visit her website.