I recently received an email inviting me to attend an on-line writing seminar with the above New Year’s heading. It’s a good question though I suspect it’s eclipsed by “I’m going to lose weight”, “I’m going to finish my degree”, “I’ll get a better job” and so forth. On the other hand, I frequently meet people who say “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I just don’t have the time.” Interesting that they seldom say something like “I don’t have the skill.” Just that they don’t have the time.
Not having the time is a bad excuse in my view. When my coaching clients tell me that I say to them “Then time has you” meaning you aren’t controlling your own life. You can call it a wish or a resolution, in either case you are in control … assuming you like to write.
I’m embarking on my fourth book. One is published, two will be published in the next few months and the fourth should be out next summer. One is non-fiction and three are fiction. Do they take time? Yes. Do I write every day? No. Do I enjoy it? Yes. So, should you give writing a try? My answer is, it depends.
It depends less on skill than on what you have inside that you want to share with others. It may take the form of sharing such things as advice, life experience, lessons learned, or some new theory or idea. Or, maybe you like to read a lot and would like to tell your own stories sometime. Whatever the reason, it has to be a real desire and it has to be enjoyable.
My non-fiction book is on leadership, a subject I had long wanted to write about, especially after receiving my PhD. Fortunately, I had experience and academic credentials that helped. How long did it take? About 20 months start to finish. Much of that time was working with a writing coach and learning about the process of writing and then publishing. You’ll need help also.
When I shifted to fiction, I already had some writing experience. Thus, I will have my first two fiction books out in less time than it took for the one non-fiction book. I still needed a lot of help, but this time I knew what I needed and found it.
Getting started doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t (and shouldn’t) need to shell out up to $10,000 for a class. Go to a well-received workshop or two (see my website for one recommended workshop) for a nominal fee if you want, then start writing your story. That’s the key, just start writing. You may throw a lot of stuff away (I dumped all of my first 30,000 fiction words), but you’ll start to get the hang of it. Then find a good editor who has patience and is willing to do development editing (helping you develop your story or message). You learn best by doing.
In the end, you may want to submit your work to a publisher through an agent. Or, you may wish to self-publish which is getting easier to do. Your real reward is the accomplishment and the joy of writing and sending out you message or story. Who knows, you may be a hit!