Last Friday evening I was having dinner with a close friend of mine and the subject came around to books. Like me, he has an extensive library, covering all sorts of subjects and also, like me, he has spoken about writing a book for a very long time. The difference between us is that I have actually done it. Two infact, the first one was published two years ago today. As we chatted over dinner we talked about why he hasn’t written his first book yet. It came down to the belief that he’s not sure he has something to say. When you do hear his story you will be amazed by that statement.
We talked some more. We discussed belief, the discipline needed to commit words to paper and we came to an agreement. The first draft of his book will be ready by June 2016. We shook hands on it and I know that to him that means it HAS to be done. All of which brings me to you. How many of you reading this would love to write a book, but think that your voice is not worth hearing or if you wrote it why would anyone hand over cash to read your words?
Fortunately E L James has helped us all here. Whether you’re a fan or not it is universally agreed that these are poorly written books and yet this has never stopped her writing or the great British public from buying her stories. I say good luck to her; I read all of the trilogy and was amazed they had ever been published, but that is not my judgement to make. The fact is they were and they sold in their millions – in the process helping the book market, in the same way that JK Rowling revived children’s reading.
Which refers me again to you. Who are you comparing yourself to? Charles Dickins? Mary Shelley? J D Salinger or the wonder of Ernest Hemingway? Or do you want to use Ms James as your guide? I think it’s time to refer to the songsmith Mr David Grohl. In his keynote speech at the SWSX music festival a couple of years ago he talked about finding ‘your voice’. He was talking about music, but it’s the same for writing, or painting for that matter. A poet standing at an open mic finds their voice and in the same way you can find yours too.
This is not an excuse to write poorly executed prose, or poetry, but it is the time to find your voice. To get published you used to have to go through a traditional publishing house, but that is no longer the case. Now you can self-publish or use a company to help you self-publish. I know that sounds a bit strange, but they take a lot of the work out of the process.
My thought to you is don’t waste time. I started five books before I finished my first. My friend has written the book in his head, but it doesn’t count until someone else is reading it. Seeing your book sell is a great feeling, but even better is when someone sends you a message or calls you up to say that your words moved them in some way.
Get writing folks, if you’re reading this then you have something to say.