Lately I've been thinking about all the people I talk to who say they want to write a book. For years, I was one of them. When my first book contract came about through a bizarre series of events, I was thrilled.
I signed the contract to write four out of the five chapters about Microsoft Word for a huge book on Microsoft Office in 1995. I did my outline and went through the process. The deadlines were extremely tight and the formatting requirements were arcane.
In short, it was a lot of work.
In fact, it was so much work that the guy who was assigned to write the other Word chapter missed his contracted deadline and flaked out on the project. The acquisitions editor called me up in a panic and begged me to write the final chapter. With a lot of help from my husband, we pulled it off. I was writing into the wee hours of the night on my birthday, which ranks it up there as one of the worst birthdays of my life. But I said I was going to do it, so I finished the chapter, met the deadline, and the book was released.
This story exemplifies something that I see all the time. The things people say often have little resemblance to the actions they actually take. If you are one of the reported 80 percent of people who say you want to write a book, but haven't, what's stopping you? Why aren't your actions reflecting your stated desires?
If what you do doesn't represent what you say you want, it could be telling you something. If you really wanted to write a book, you would have done so. Yes, you can say you had no time, no money, too many children to tend, the dog needed to be fed, or offer 29 thousand other excuses. But many people write even when they are busy with other things.
If you aren't actually writing anything, ask yourself how much you really want to write that book after all. Maybe your reasons for "wanting" to write a book don't really have to do with what you want. Maybe it's really about getting approval from others. If so, give yourself a break and don't beat yourself up about not finishing your book. Move on to something else.
In 2008, more than 400,000 books were released. Whether or not the books sell or are even worth reading, they do have one thing in common. All of those writers made a commitment to writing a book. And then they did it. Those people are probably not particularly different from you or me. The difference is that they did the work and wrote the book, even when it wasn't fun.
Thinking of Writing a Book? Get Help.
If you are struggling to get your non-fiction book done, it's probably for one of a few simple reasons. Published authors aren't really any different than you. Writing a book is not magic. However, published authors have found ways to overcome common writing problems, so they have bookshelves full of their books. Once you know how to write a non-fiction book, writing more books is easy. If you know you want to complete a book, check out our Write Your Book page to find out how we can help you realize your dream of becoming a published author. Fill out the Book Completion Questionnaire for a consultation about your book project.