How To Write A Book Despite Everything

By: Don Dewsnap

Very few people actually know how to write a book. Most of those who have written one or more books have usually had to learn how as they went along. Even then, whatever they learned was what worked for them; there is almost no chance the same lessons would work for you.

You can understand, therefore, that anyone who tells you he can teach you how to write a book is not being entirely truthful. He can tell you what worked for him, or for other people, and he may be helpful, but he doesn’t have a magic wand with your name on it.

The thing is, not knowing how to write a book is the easiest obstacle to overcome on the way to becoming an author. If that were the only problem, you would have already finished writing a dozen books. You have been learning how to do things by doing them for your whole life. Learning how to write a book is little different from learning how to ride a bicycle. You keep at it until you get it right.

The real reasons you haven’t written a book are personal and private. Maybe they are common, or maybe they are unique and fantastic. The following are just a few of the reasons I have heard for not writing a book:

I can’t write well enough.
I don’t have anything to write about.
My life is completely uninteresting.
I don’t have time.
I can’t afford to self-publish.
Someone else has probably already done it better.
It would be a waste of time.

Your reasons are probably much better and more forbidding than these. (Which underscores your innate creative ability, by the way. But I digress.)

So we come to the point of how to write a book despite everything. The point is that if you take these obstacles, your own obstacles, one at a time or all together, and try to overcome them before you start to write a book, you will never start.

How to write a book despite everything is not a matter of overcoming obstacles. Nor is it a matter of ignoring obstacles. You do not pretend they don’t exist. You certainly don’t argue with them, or try to convince yourself they are unimportant. If people tell you that you are wasting your time, or acting foolish, or being stupid, you don’t ignore, argue with, or try to convince them.

If you want to cross a desert, you don’t argue with the heat, and you don’t ignore it, and you don’t overcome it, or pretend it doesn’t exist. You don’t listen to the cautious advisors who tell you that you are stupid, or acting foolish, or wasting your time and will die. No, you grab a hat and some water, and start walking.

That is as far as that analogy will stretch. I hope it was sufficient to make the point.

You want to write a book? Cool. Write a book. When it’s done, you can either go back over it and make it better, or write another one. It’s okay to get help, too. Professional editors, proofreaders, and writers can quite likely take your finished book and turn it into a marketable manuscript. But they can’t do that if you don’t give them a book in the first place.

Most first books are not very good, especially not in the first draft. That’s okay. You learn how to write a book by writing a book. There really is no other way. If you want to get good at it, you write another.

I will give you one hint, just to help you get started. Think about making your first book kind of a short one, to get your feet wet.

Start walking.

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