THE DRILL: How to write a book

1:44:00 PM

How to write a book

Fantasizing about how your life will be once you have realized your dream, is exciting.  Take a bow, hear the applause, you have accomplished everything you ever wanted. Do you daydream about it often? Being admired, finding fulfillment, slaying away?
How to get from those happy thoughts to the first step?

Starting out is with anything creative is excruciatingly hard.
Why is that?
Every time you think about what you want to achieve, let's say writing a book, your mind jumps ahead and lands at the finish line. It is wonderful. Dream job. Visualizing it will bring a feeling of huge relief.
You'll be able to shed all that doubt, the struggle, the should's, the wont's, the never-evers.
When you secure that happy ending you will have proven... Yes, let's fill that in shall we?
Knowing that answer will reveal the very barrier, the exact obstacle that keeps you from actually starting.
You want to prove yourself. Because...?
Of course it can't be the only reason to want to write, create, work for yourself. If it is, you may have to dig deeper to find something you really love, not something you think will lead to money, power, glory and love, friendship, sex.

But don't worry about the obstacle. It may be insecurity, a sense of loss, longing for approval, a urge to be heard, an itch to express yourself. It is not important at all.
If you know how to put it aside and start.
It sounds simple. Just do it.
You sit down. Inspiration, you think, flow through me,  I am ready.
This is what happens.

1. Nothing comes. Page remains blank.
2. Something comes, but you get stuck and feel frustrated.
3. It comes, but reading it, afterwards, you think it's terrible.
4 It flows out of you, and when you are ready you feel you have done excellent work.
5. It comes, keeps coming for a while, and then you get distracted and go and get coffee, scroll through Instagram, or head to the fridge.

If these 5 possibilities were people, who do you think will finish a book that others will read?

You may not believe me, but the person who has no difficulty and thinks he/she has done an excellent job, will be the one with the least chance of getting there.

Creating is as difficult as it is easy.
It only is easy when you understand how difficult it is.
By doing it, you will build on your experience, acquire skills, learn how to navigate the hurdles you encounter.

When you are not familiar with frustration, doubt, a wandering mind, you never feel uncomfortable even for a sec, you are probably just generating crap without the possibility of making it better. (Or you are a creative genius. Kudos! You are one in a million.)
The thing is, you don't need to be exceptional to be good, you don't need to be the best, or perfect to create something worthwhile.

Do you work out? I do, and I have heard people who don't say nonsensical things. We all indulge in magical thinking, make up all kinds of excuses that are not based on logic.
One of the most frequent excuse for not working out is: Other people can, but I can't because...

I can't workout because I get bored.
I can't walk around the block because I have bad knees.
I can't work out because I am stressed. Or tired.
By coming up with excuses you create a separation between the people already doing it, and yourself.
Working out only becomes a habit when you realize this: You will come to expect that even if you are not in the mood, feel tired, you have no idea how to do a particular move, you hate running, etc etc, once you start your workout, the hard part is done.
But it will never be easy. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's boring, sometimes you even get injured. But that stuff doesn't matter, it is just part of it. The only difference is that people that work out regularly, know how to deal with the challenges of exercise. Not because they are fit, but because they rely on past experiences. If you are starting a workout routine you will build your own knowledge. Everybody is the same. even if you are an athletic wonder, things get hard, boring, you make a fool of yourself, you lose motivation.
But you know you will deal with it and you know the payoff.

The same goes for writing, or any other creative endeavor. Eventually you will build an arsenal of skills to handle the challenges.

Remember it when you start. You are adding layers, every day you are gaining expertise.
It is supposed to feel uncomfortable.
It is not about dreaming. You can chase dream, but it's like catching your shadow, clouds, a rainbow. A dream is a sign to point you in the right direction, that's all.
A starting point that will let you build a reality that you like.
You will eventually finish writing a book, you will have a portfolio, you will have enough paintings for a show, you can write music, create an awesome blog, you can do whatever you like.
But it is hard. And you need skills. To get skills you need experience. You get experience you have to start. That's it.

So, how to start exactly?

If you want to write, try this:  (it works for anything else.)

Start small. Again very similar to working out, you cannot run a 10k if you have never ran around the block. You have to train.
Take 15 minutes, every other day. Sit down, and write.
Do not read it when you are done.
Do this till you have a chapter, and then go through it.
Edit a bit. Not too much.
How does the time that you are sitting down feel? Does it go fast or slow?
If you have found a way to write 15 minutes, every other day, do it every day now. If not stick to every other day, 15 minutes, tops.
Continue till you have another chapter, stop and reread your first. Edit a little bit.
Write the third.
Do not think about how many pages, words, how long your book has to be.
Think 15 minutes.
Edit the last chapter when you have finished the next.
Slowly you will write for longer stretches.
But is that doesn't happen, if you are happy when your timer goes off, it's fine, stay with the 15 minutes.

Notice how you feel after writing. Without re-reading, that's important!
Do you feel lighter, energetic, do you feel that relief?
This feeling, if you are able to get it, ( like an orgasm you know once you get it) this will the best indication, if you'll be able to write a book, become a writer, set up a blog, or complete any other creative work.
Why? After a while, you will not longer chase a dream, you will chase that feeling. It's the best feeling.  That's the payoff. You will be very lucky. Writing will still be hard,  but it becomes essential. Inevitable.

15 minutes is what it takes.
It is very much possible that you will write crap in the beginning. Or for a long while. It doesn't matter, keep going. There's lot of ways to turn crap, into something worthwhile. More on that next time.

You Might Also Like