It was a sunny morning, in the spring of 2015, and I was walking to my Russian lesson. I’d been reading “The Hunger Games” and feeling that familiar ache of unfocused inspiration. That urgent desire
It was a sunny morning, in the spring of 2015, and I was walking to my Russian lesson. I’d been reading “The Hunger Games” and feeling that familiar ache of unfocused inspiration. That urgent desire to create something, but without a specific idea of what. So when my teacher asked me what was new, I told her. How I’d always kind of wanted to write a book. How that idea had lingered in the back of my head for nearly 20 years, though I never actively pursued it. How good books always rekindled the desire.
“Why don’t you write a book?” she asked.
And boom. Suddenly my world turned upside down. Or rather, right side up. Simple. Obvious. Profound. With that one question, something opened up inside me. Why don’t I write a book?
Where to start, though? Googling “How to write a book” produced 723 million results. I took a deep breath and waded in. Days later I emerged with a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, and a few solid tips. Most notable was to start small. Suddenly, I had a plan. A short story a week to learn the principles of storytelling. Hone my prose. Develop the skills necessary to tackle something bigger.
On May 1st, I took advantage of a national holiday to meet a friend for lunch. Among other things, we talked about my newly formed plan to write a story a week. We lingered over our meal for hours, but eventually the time came to leave. Buffeted by winds as we left the restaurant, I made a comment I’d made a dozen times before- a little spiel about why I hate the wind. She laughed.
“You should make that the first line of one of your stories!”
Another defining moment disguised as an offhand comment.
As the idea took shape in my mind, I soon realized that it was too big for a short story. Best to put it away for later and focus on writing other stories. Except that I couldn’t. That little seed of an idea dug in and blossomed out, quickly filling every nook and cranny of my brain. Four and a half years later, it has grown and changed course numerous times, and is now a 3-book series.
To this day, I still haven’t written a single short story.
One year after that initial google search, I felt like I was in a different world. I frequented author blogs (and had favorites), listened to writing podcasts in my spare time, and was tossing around terms like “plotters and pantsers,” “pinch points,” and “Chekhov’s gun” like a second language. Not to mention all the acronyms like POV (point of view), MC (main character), and WIP (work in progress). And now writing is such an integral part of my world, I can’t even imagine life without it.
So what does all this have to do with you, you might ask?
Well, there’s one more thing I’ve learned over the years, and it’s that a lot of people harbor a secret ambition to write a book. But they don’t. They don’t think they can. They don’t know where to start. They never get around to it. Or they simply relegate it to the realm of dreams.
Are you one of those people? Is there a story you want to tell? If so, consider this: if you don’t tell it, no one will.
My dream for this blog is to share those things that I’ve learned along the way. Both the basics gleaned from others and the things I’ve figured out on my own. I’d like to give you a head start into the process and to share the journey with you. We can make our own little community of writers, running the race together.
So let me ask you a simple, obvious, profound question.
Why don’t you write a book?