I've always written - as a journalist, as a copywriter, but books? That was a whole different ballgame in my mind. Writing a book was always something I'd imagined doing when I wasn't busy growing my business and raising a young family.
'One day...' I would think to myself. 'One day when I'm not knee-deep in nappies and running on such little sleep, I don't even know what day it is.
One day, I'll buy a little cottage overlooking the sea and write my book on an old-fashioned typewriter in a long flowing dress with just a collection of beautiful notebooks for company.'
But then I won a novel-writing award and everything changed.
I should say at this point that for this particular award you didn't need to enter your full book manuscript, just the first few chapters and a synopsis outlining the plot. I entered because I saw the judge was a renowned UK literary agent and I thought it would be great to get my idea and writing style reviewed by an industry professional. I certainly never imagined winning so when my name was called out, out of almost 300 entries, I was in shock.
At the time, I was also pregnant, looking after a toddler, and running my business.
After the agent gave me my prize (a beautiful Montegrappa pen), he asked to see the rest of the manuscript. When I told him, I hadn't written it yet, he was understandably disappointed. In a moment of madness (and not wanting to lose the interest of a literary agent) I told him I would have it to him in six months.
He was polite enough not to ask how on earth I thought I was going to give birth AND write a book.
But against all the odds, the dirty nappies, and let’s be honest, a few meltdowns (me not the baby or toddler), I did it.
I finished my novel which he then went on to sell as part of a three-book deal. Half-way through writing the book, I gave birth to our gorgeous boy Ryan - a second son to join his brother Zane.
I'd love to tell you it was easy, but it was absolute chaos. There wasn't a beautiful notebook in sight - well, there was but it was probably covered in baby puke. It was one hell of a six months, with one hand typing away furiously on my laptop, the other holding a newborn, and one eye on my toddler who decided now was the perfect time to start testing his climbing skills.
It was probably one of the most exciting and creative times in my life.
And while I probably wouldn’t want to repeat it, having had that experience, I now know just what I’m capable of. Writing a book is about discipline and while having endless amounts of time to write is a luxury, it’s not always a necessity.
So, if you’ve always wanted to write a book, here are three reasons why you should start now.
1. Parkinson's Law
Yes, you may have more time when you're retired but that doesn't guarantee you will actually get the book finished. Let me explain. Parkinson's Law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". If you have no deadline or pressure, it might not be the most motivating. When I was writing my first book, these factors removed any inclination I may have had towards procrastination because I simply didn't have the time. I had two hours during my son's nap time, and I had to use it wisely.
2. There's Never A Good Time
Like having kids, starting a new job, or buying your first house, there really isn't an ideal time to write a book. Whether it's now or in the future, there will be times in both instances where it's nothing more than a long, arduous, frustrating process full of self-doubt. If you're not questioning whether your work is any good, you're feeling guilty because there's a million other things that need your attention. If you haven't wasted an hour on Twitter stalking J.K Rowling and Stephen King, then can you even call yourself a proper writer? My point is that whatever stage of life you're at, there are always going to be distractions and interruptions, surprises and the unexpected, so you might as well start now.
3. Someone Else Might Write It
I'm always motivated by the saying: ‘Better to regret something you did than something you didn't’.
Imagine the scenario: you approach a bookshop and see an incredible window display featuring a new bestseller; artfully arranged stacks of hardbacks, the author's photo blown up to life-sized proportions, a poster advertising a book signing. You head inside the shop and curious, you pick up a copy, only to realise it's the SAME IDEA as yours.
The only difference is your name isn't on the front cover. Don’t let someone else write your book - I promise you the regret will be far harder to stomach than six to twelve months of writing.
Related posts: What I've Learnt From Writing 3 Books In 3 Years
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