Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new.
Kenneth Grahame, Wind in The Willows
Let me tell you a little secret right at the outset. Writers are special. We’ve got something that other people want. We’ve got a story to tell and if you’re reading this then you, too, are thinking about telling stories – whether it’s to fund your adventures, provide a bit of extra pocket money or to see your name in lights, it doesn’t matter. Your reasons will most likely change anyway.
That’s the funny thing about the creative life. You don’t know where it’s going to take you. But one thing I’ve learnt is that wherever it takes you your life will be all the richer for the experience of having done it. Typing The End on something you’ve created out of nothing but words on a screen is intrinsically rewarding, and more often than not, monetarily rewarding as well.
Either way, you will have done it, that thing that so many people before you have done. You will have written a book and it will have your name on it and, with luck and attention to the craft of writing, people will pay real money to read it.
The next thirty days are about you and for you. I’m assuming you’re ready to explore your creative side but you don’t know where to start. This blog series will help. It’s a series about ideas, your ideas, and what you’re going to do with the persistent blighters now that you’ve acknowledged their existence. They’ve been with you for a while now and your ‘I’m going to write a book one day’ is fast turning into ‘It’s time.’
No more excuses. With today’s technology it’s gone from possible to almost easy to get your story out there. With a good cover design, a few dollars to throw at a formatter (or for some of you – do it yourself), you can upload to Amazon and sit back and wait for enthusiastic consumers begging you for a sequel.
The question is, where to start? In some ways, with all this changing technology and level playing fields it can be almost more confusing than sending your precious manuscript off to a publisher and waiting for a form rejection to add to your ever growing pile.
You can do this yourself. You can write it. You can edit it – or pay someone else to do it. You can get it designed, formatted and uploaded all within weeks (apparently) and talk about the experience over happy hour drinks with others who, too, are keen to write a book some day.
But if it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, sometimes it feels like they are and that there will be no room for your paltry efforts. But there is and your efforts are just as worthy as the next person’s efforts. That’s the good thing about stories. Everyone has one to tell – all you have to do is find someone who wants to listen. Easy, huh?
Good, then you’re in the right place. The hardest decision you will make is whether to commit to this insane, mind-zappingly difficult enterprise called writing. If it was as easy as some would have us believe, we’d all be doing it and you wouldn’t need this series. And then I wouldn’t have an audience and you’d be sitting back at happy hour listening to someone else’s story. Which, in fact, can be much better fun than the bum-in-chair stuff I’m going to suggest to you.
Stories are like that. Easy to tell, damned difficult to write down so they sound easy. Things like beginnings, middles and endings, all begin to haunt your dreams, and your Google searches become increasingly desperate in your efforts to sort through the quagmire of how-to books on everything from writing 10,000 words a day, to finishing your book in a week.
You’ve heard of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – right? The stuff nightmares are made of, especially for everyone who dares to wander into your sphere during the heady month where you rack up so many words it takes you another year to decipher what the hell you were churning out in that frenzy of typing, wine sipping and general euphoria of mounting word-counts and bullseye target hitting. No time to think about, let alone, allow your ideas to develop. Produce at all costs, and mostly at the expense of your sanity. But who am I to judge. I’m determined to give it a go myself one day.
NaNoWriMo gets bigger every year and more writers are jumping on the wagon to tell you how, when and where to do it. I’m thinking of writing a book where spouses exact revenge for the month of NaNoWriMo hell their households have to endure, from the poor old cat being ceremoniously turfed off the frenzied writer’s laptop for the nth-hundredth time to petulant infants taking the cat and swinging it by its tail just to get your attention – we all know bad attention is better than no attention don’t we children – and if they’re lucky a bit of tucker slung their way before the next big session of yes you guessed it NaNoWriMo.
So let’s get some balance right from the start. Let’s assume you’re on a grand adventure of the mind. And you want to write it down but you don’t know how or you don’t have the time or nobody will be interested when you finally screw up the courage to do this thing called writing.
There’s never a right time for an adventure of the mind and there’s never a good time to write about it. I’m afraid you just have to run with the old adage, just do it stupid.
Have I convinced you yet? Good, let’s get started. I promise you won’t regret it.