There is something magical about writing a book. My first book was my fairytale, that one thing that made me want to believe in myself when all seemed lost. It made people take me seriously as a writer, long before I started offering professional writing services.
It’s one thing to dabble in writing, but to have a book out there is a different high altogether. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of working on sentences until they melt like candyfloss in the mouth, creating characters and deciding their fates, and feeling sad when the story ends because you’d become so attached to it.
Now here’s the thing: Writing a full-fledged book is not the same as writing a blog or a magazine article. I describe the process of writing a full-length book (which you intend to get published and sold, and not give away for free) as all-consuming. It’s going to be difficult, sometimes disappointing, and also frustrating on certain days. It’s not without a reason that some books take years to be complete.
No matter what age you decide to tell your story at, the feelings, preparations, and process remain the same. It could be fiction or nonfiction, but it will surely change your life. Here are the six naked truths about writing your first book, from the one who’s been there, done that…
The first draft is trash
In comparison to the final draft, the first one is always going to seem complete garbage. The first draft and the final draft of my book were written about two years apart, and boy, does the first one make me laugh now. But don’t be disappointed, because first drafts are supposed to be poor and in need of more work. Over the course of three, four, or even five drafts, it will improve.
You may withdraw from the real world
If you’re writing fiction, you’ll know how enchanting it is to create a different world for yourself and live each character, their emotions, and highs and lows. As fun as this might be for you, it’s equally difficult for the others around you. How are they supposed to know why you remain lost during dinner, or talk to yourself, or get up in the middle of the night to scribble something you’ve suddenly remembered?
It happened to me, and there are chances it will happen to you too. The people around you will probably never understand and think you’re going crazy. But that’s okay; every writer is a little crazy, after all.
It’s a solitary process
Writing requires the heart of a loner, and one of the best things about this solitary activity is the quiet time you get to spend with yourself and your craft. If you’re generally fonder of being around people all the time, then the process of writing a book is going to be incredibly lonely for you.
Your mind needs to be calm and quiet and your surroundings need to be peaceful if you want to write a story. You’re in it alone, and if you don’t find joy in what you’re doing, then you rather not be doing it.
You’ll lose track of time
As a result of the previous two points, your schedule may not go as smoothly as it normally does. When you become an experienced writer, you may be able to manage your time better. But when you’re just beginning, it is quite difficult because you tend to be caught up in the whole writing process.
Revision is tedious
Writing the first draft is fun. You’re bubbling with excitement and your creative juices are flowing. It’s when you revise the draft that you realise how many words you’ve missed, how many typographical and grammatical errors you’ve made, and how silly some of the lines sound. Then you’ve to get down and make a fresh draft with as little error as possible. The process sometimes takes forever.
Be ready to be rejected
There’s something about publishers. What is good for one is trash to the other. Almost all of them are going to respond with a systematic crap: Your manuscript doesn’t fit our publishing program. The sooner you prepare yourself for the bulldozing attack on your hopes, the better it is. It takes ages to get a ‘yes’ from a publisher. Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times for Gone With the Wind, but look what happened.
Your book can well be a masterpiece in the making. Take your time; do not rush; keep your hopes up. The best things in life are always tough, but they’re worth it.
How was your experience of writing your first book? Tell me know in the comments below!