Write a Book?

View of Zion National Park, looking west (or down canyon) from along the Angel's Landing Trail

View of Zion National Park, looking west (or down canyon) from along the Angel’s Landing Trail. That’s the Virgin River below – it’s cut through seven layers of rock in Zion over the years. 

I’ve always wanted to write. As far back as I can remember. In fourth grade, after my parents split, it seemed like I wanted to write fiction – plays that my friends and I could act out. I liked creating these worlds where things could be different from mine. Things could be better. Problems could be solved with just the flourish of my pen (we only had typewriters back then. Yes, I’m one of those people who lived before the age of computers. Don’t call me old though, or I may just have to smack you. 🙂 )

Why would anyone want to read what I write? And actually pay for it? When they could read part of my blog and get the same gist of things? Will they think I’m doing it just for the  money? What if they hate it? What if it gets bad reviews when I finally put it up there for the world to see? And worse, what if no one wants to buy it??

These are the self-doubting thoughts that immediately start to come to mind when I sit down to actually start writing. I start to over-analyze every sentence, every word I put onto paper (or in this case, my chromebook’s screen). I try to fight through it by just continuing on, knowing I can always edit later. That’s what I would tell others in my situation, so why do I find it so hard to follow my own advice?

What should the book be about? My journey into learning more about myself? My journey through depression? My attempt at minimalization? My drive across this country in a car with five cats and a dog? My 180 degree change from working at a well paying job in the Ivory Tower, to a world where I get paid to clean up after nonstop-pooping rabbits and clean poopy butts with my bare hands every day? (This, from the woman who never wanted to change a baby’s diaper because I thought it was so gross.)  Some of these, or all of these? Or something else? Should it just be a work of fiction instead?

I’ve read through books on how to write in the past and usually come away feeling even more self-doubtful. Which scares me, because I know from many therapy sessions that I can sometimes have a very harsh inner voice. It’s one I’ve learned to quiet over the years but from time to time, still rears its ugly head (most recently, just a few days ago at work. I could tell I was being irrational but also couldn’t stop myself from feeling hurt when I knew the people around me were only trying to help, with their words of advice.)

Why do I find it so much easier to let the words flow on this blog than when I start to actually type onto a blank piece of paper? 

I’d love to hear any and all thoughts any of you might have on this subject – please drop me a line below, and thank you. Even if it’s to tell me I’m insane and shouldn’t do it, I’ll understand. I appreciate candor in all things, even if it’s sometimes hard to hear or take in at the time.

12 thoughts on “Write a Book?

  1. I think this is a wonderful idea Terri. I still have one inside waiting to come out and the more I blog and write down idea’s the more I get inspired to write it. I look forward to taking this journey one day and I think you will reap many benefits from getting started on yours.

  2. Like you, I’ve always wanted to write for real, but never have. When I was in school, I carried around bottles of green and brown inks for my Parker pen. In shorthand class, we were not allowed to use ball point pens because they technology was too new to be reliable! My how times have changed!

    There is a whole site devoted to writing that is done by Nick Russell. I don’t know if you have run across anything (books or blogs) by him since you’ve become an RV’er, but he has some notoriety. It might be worth a look for you.

    http://www.publishing4profit.com

    Best of luck.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    • Hi Judie,

      I think I’ve read some of his stuff, actually! Thanks for the link because I could use all the help I could get.

      That made me laugh about the ball point pens not being reliable enough! I remember learning how to type on one of those smith corona machines that you could see only one or two lines on the screen – remember those? (And I also remember being afraid to use Windows when it first came out after Dos. It makes me laugh now.)

  3. Terri,

    When it comes to writing books, I’ve found that what works for me is to start with a working title and a working book cover design. I may change them both a time or two before I finish, but having the cover to look at helps keep me motivated.

    The two places I get my book cover designs are http://www.GoOnWrite.com and http://www.Fiverr.com. The GoOnWrite covers are $45, and he has a lot of covers to choose from. I only pay $5 to get a cover designed by one of the designers at Fiverr.

    All of my books have been How-to books, but novels sell about 20 times more than How-to. Fiction is just not my thing.

    After I get the title and cover, I write out a Table of Contents (I modify it a lot as I go along). Then when I sit down to write, I write on whichever chapter suites me at the time. I don’t write the chapters in order. I do usually write the Introduction chapter first.

    Since fiction books don’t have a Table of Contents, most fiction writers I know start with a basic outline and plot, but most of them tell me that the plot changes some as they go along.

    Just my two cents worth. I’m looking forward to reading your books.

    • I can see why having the book cover done early on in the process, especially if it’s a How-To book, would be motivating to keep on going. And when I have written fiction in the past, I’ve definitely not been able to find myself writing in order. And I don’t think it would be out of the realm of possibility for me to end up writing the ending first. 🙂 Thank you very much for the encouragement, Jerry, I highly appreciate it.

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