10 Reasons you haven’t written your book yet

And why they are stupid.

1. I haven’t quite finished the research/outline yet.
Why it’s stupid: If when you did your first save of the outline or some research notes it was onto a floppy disk, you just may be procrastinating.

2. I haven’t quite finished building the world yet.
Why it’s stupid: The reader probably isn’t going to care about the life cycle of every made up bug biting your hero as he slogs through the Forbidden swamp. If you spend more time building a wiki or database to hold facts about your story than you ever will writing the story you may have world builders disease. If you’re spending still more time to create a constructed language for every group of people in the story you may need to get over yourself and stop pretending to be Tolkien.

3. I fear that after I write the book I’ve had in my head for years I’ll never have another book idea again.
Why it’s stupid: Probably not the case. There are one book wonders out there, but most people will find that once that first idea is FINALLY out of their brain and onto a page it will leave room for lots of new ideas.

4. I don’t have time.
Why it’s stupid: Newsflash – nobody has time to write. I mean aside from if they get sent to prison or something and they’re looking for some way to fill the long empty hours of their day. The rest of us have to make time. Give up other things.

5. It might suck.
Why it’s stupid: So? Will the sky fall? Will the fiction police arrest you? If it sucks, that what editing is for. If it still sucks after that you write something else and get better.

6. I need to read more books about how to write.
Why it’s stupid: Writing books are great, I love reading about writing. But reading about writing and not actually doing it makes as much sense as reading about playing the flute or how to ice skate and not doing them. You can’t read X number of books about something and then start doing it perfectly right away. The best way to learn about writing is by writing.

7. I’ll never be as good as [insert other author name here].
Why it’s stupid: You don’t have to be. The range of how good books are or aren’t is staggering. You’ll fit in somewhere. Hopefully on the “publishable” end of the scale.

8. My ideas are too radical/shocking/unconventional for publication.
Why it’s stupid: They almost certainly aren’t. Kids in school probably study books with more shocking ideas than you have. Get over yourself and how cool and edgy you are and just write it. If it’s radical/shocking/unconventional and good somewhere out there there’ll be a market for it.

9. I’m be too shy to show anyone anything I write.
Why it’s stupid: This one held me back for years. I still find it a real problem. The answer is The Internet! That’s the answer to so many things. Somehow people on the Internet aren’t quite as “real” as people you have to deal with face to face or even on the phone. That let me finally dare to start sharing work. All my dealings with my publisher are over the Internet. I know they’re real, because they send me money, but in part of my mind they are Internet People and at least when it comes to writing it’s easier dealing with Internet People than Real Life People.

10. I don’t really want to write, I only want to be able to call myself a writer and be rich and famous.
Why it’s stupid: Do you need me to tell you this one?

Now get writing!


11 thoughts on “10 Reasons you haven’t written your book yet

  1. People look at me as if I’m weird when I tell them I don’t watch TV any more. Once upon a time I used to watch Coronation Street, Eastenders, Holby City… I do watch some TV but not a lot (currently Doctor Who was my weekly fix) – I even gave up on Desperate Housewives, and I LIKE Desperate Housewives.

    My life is so much richer for not watching TV! Such an easy time waster that one.

    Great blog post.

  2. Great post. I’ve been guilty of a couple of these, but have finally started making progress. There really is no better time than ‘now’ to write…

  3. OMG I’ve done all of those! But Number Nine is the very best thing ever. Over the internet one can’t hear that tone in the voice or see the roll of the eyes that means ones work is being damned with faint praise. And one need only go to places where one can find, reasonably, like minded people so you don’t have to deal with baffled incomprehension or outright horror. Okay, on the ‘net there are plenty of crazies but you don’t generally have to share an office with those.

    Number Five is a good point too. So it sucks? So what? I’ll still have had the fun of writing it even if nobody bar a few long suffering betas and blog readers ever see it.

  4. I suffered from all of 3-8 for years after taking my first creative writing course at Uni. I also suffered from Booker ennui – I thought that if I didn’t produce something incredibly moving, meaningful and worthy of winning great literary prizes and being hailed as a modern classic, it wasn’t worth putting my time into…

    Then I got over myself and started writing smutty gay romance, which makes me happy even if it won’t win any prizes from the literary establishment!

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