Writing a Book: The Thankless Dream

Do you know how many people out there want to write a book? Think about that number for a second, and then ask yourself how many of those people ever actually get that book written. Not many, making the very act of completing a book a huge accomplishment. I could ask about how many of those completed books ever get published, but that question has a decaying relevance with people publishing books online or self-publishing. People my own age think I am old-school for having a mini library in my apartment as it is. Will people even care about print books in a decade (*raises hand* I will! Down with e-readers! Sorry trees.)?

I am one of those dreamers, with ideas fluttering in her head and a burning desire to write a book. In fact, I want to get a book published. If Stephenie Meyer can do it, than so can I.

Except that I haven’t.

Life is busy. Between my full-time job, social life, love life and unexpected events, my time to sit and write is scarce. Writing is really a thankless profession anyway, and writing books is perhaps the most thankless. I have no delusions about writing leading to a life of fame and fortune. All I really want is the existence one person out there who cares for my writing as much as I care for that of my favorite authors. If one person out in the world proudly displays a book I wrote on their bookshelf, my dream is achieved.

I’m done with the excuses. When I was looking for a job after college, I cut my day in half, spending the morning (7am- 12pm) looking for jobs and the afternoon at work. The required me to get my lazy ass out of bed and walk the five or so blocks to the library while everyone else in my college town was still sleeping off their hangovers. This is something I did seven days a week. My drive to find a better job and avoid moving back in with my parents when my lease expired was such that I was desperate. My desire for writing needs to be the same to get that book written.

Before starting this blog, I started to pick up the hobbies that act as my muses for writing. Without my knowledge or consent, my hobbies faded from view during my transition into post-college life. These were the things that inspired me and, without them, my book ideas were lacking. The blog was the last piece of the puzzle. Having written something every day since I started, it has rekindled my passion for writing. I think I am ready for the last stage: sacrifice.

Friday nights are usually spent with my boyfriend, sometimes with other friends as well. At the end of the night, we either sleep at my place or his. When we wake up, we continue to hang out, even if it is as simple as playing video games or reading. While he encourages me to bring my laptop to his place and write while he plays games, the sound of shooting, bombing and cry of the dying that characterizes his war games is hugely distracting. Even when I read while he plays, I read at a slower pace.

The Friday nights can still happen, but I’m going to commit myself to spending most Friday nights alone in my own bed. This way, I can wake up bright an early, dragging my lazy ass out of bed with a desperation to write. The Starbucks just a few blocks from my apartment has an ideal atmosphere for writing (I would not say that about every Starbucks, but that one has the perfect kind of music, lighting, seating and view of the outside). There I will sit until noon, just like I did when I was looking for a job. If all I do is stare at a blank page on my computer, then so be it. Brainstorming is important too.

The last hurdle I have to overcome is my criticism. Writing a book, even if it’s a horrid book, still puts me ahead of every person who says they want to write a book and never does. This is my dream and my responsibility. Check in next Saturday; I may end my first writing session with a celebratory blog post.

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13 thoughts on “Writing a Book: The Thankless Dream”

  1. Keep the faith – and keep writing. I left it until later in life and wish I’d started earlier. It doesn’t have to be a book though, even keeping a journal is writing – And write down ideas and develop them. Just feel free to call yourself a writer and think of yourself as a writer.

  2. I love how you mention the atmosphere at Starbucks , when writing at a cafe, it’s all about the atmosphere. Outlets, cozy corners, and mood makes or breaks the desire I have to go back and write. What kind of book are you working on, or thinking of starting ?

    1. My atmosphere switches from month to month, too. Last month, I was all over Starbucks in the early morning. I’ve just recently switched to the library after work. I’m just all over the place.

      For now, I’m going to call my book a fantasy. I really want it to be an adult fantasy, or maybe new adult. I won’t know what to label it until I’m a few drafts in. I haven’t really decided if it’s 100% fantasy, either. Sometimes, I seed in some ideas that make it sound like it could be some futuristic world. For now, I like it that way. Maybe my readers will have a fun time debating whether or not this is a completely made up realm or if it actually takes place in a fantasy-like future.

        1. Yes, this is my very first attempt. I have about five stories in my head, but I figured out a way to choose one and am just running with it. Half the battle is figuring out a writing method that works for me. If you do some research, you’ll find every writer has a different way of creating a book.

            1. You just have to go for it. What I did was I took a day and wrote down every idea I had. Some were complete stories and some were just pieces. Then, when I had all my ideas down, I picked one. I can always go back to the other ideas if I find something I want to add to it, but I spend most of my time with that one story.

              After that, I’ve been experimenting with the time of day I write. In January, I was waking up to get to the cafe by 5am. Recently, I’ve switched to writing right after work. Like I said, I’m still working on my method. It’s all part of the process.

              1. Yea, that is a really good idea actually. Today I was journalling and reflecting on that a bit, on all the things bouncing around in my mind. But I think it will be beneficial if I sit down and write out each idea I have, and maybe just pick one and work at it and see where it goes! Are you writing so that it will eventually and hopefully replace your job? Or do you always want to have a separate job from your writing? That is something I have been thinking about lately, being close to graduation and all.

                1. In a perfect world, I would survive on writing books alone. I know that’s a long shot, though. I’m not putting any pressure on my writing. Just finishing a book will be an accomplishment. I’ll worry about publishing and all that once I get there.

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