Do you really have a book in you?


Last year I talked two potential clients out of pursuing their dream of writing books.


They weren’t up for it. They thought they were. But in the course of our conversation, they realised they weren’t.

For different reasons, each thought they really wanted to write a book.

Jack wanted to put down all he knew about growing up into a book for his kids.

Juanita wanted to collate her extensive knowledge in care for pregnant women and new mothers into a self-guided exploration of the potential, for themselves.

Both ideas were good. Both had heart. Both had smarts.

Both concepts were undeveloped, which is just fine. Everyone starts somewhere. Some people come to us with well-developed ideas, but no clue how to write. Some writers struggle to articulate their initial ideas. We help at any stage of the process.

This time I helped by, as usual, asking initial questions, like:

Why do you want to write this?

How much time are you prepared to spend on it in the next 12 months?

What else would you rather be doing?

If the list is long in answer to this last question, you’ve got to ask another question:

Why bother?

It’s a legitimate question and vital if you want to use your time efficiently. If you want to explore the ideas you’ve been playing with over the years then nothing is ever a waste of time. But if your goal is to produce a book at the end of a certain period then consider what else might, more beautifully, more rewardingly, fill your days.

Writing a book takes time, effort, experience, persistence and bum glue. (Unfortunately, you can’t buy bum glue at the shop. You have to mix three parts discipline, one part can-cope-with-uncertainty and two parts ignore-other-distractions with a large pinch of self-belief then brew this concoction daily until well and truly baked!)

Both Jack and Juanita are still writing. The other day Juanita wrote to tell me that she’s developing her ideas for a more nuanced book, one she thinks would be harder to sell and harder to write, but more unique and more useful to her readership. This might be the one, it just might… Then again, she’s also started learning the piano…

Tune into the next blog if you want to know why Jack and Juanita decided not to write their books.

May your words pour onto the page,