How do you write a book?
Posted on August 8, 2015
I’m sitting here, perched on the end of a long wooden bench in a cafe, nestled in the fast-flowing tourist capital of NSW’s north coast, Byron Bay, staring at a blank screen.
The vast white expanse of a new text document stare me down like the neighbours dog, the first night I brought my future wife home to meet my parents – defiant to the point of challenging me to even think about making a move.
How do you put words to the thoughts that float in and out and across your mind? How do you craft something into poetry? How do you give meaning and impact and life to the same 26 letters used to lazily craft the breakfast menu on the table in front of me?
It’s intimidating, that’s for sure.
I have a message to share. Something big. Something powerful. Something real and impactful and alive and I’m afraid that if I don’t do it right, that message will be lost amongst the vast empty collections of well-meaning, but ultimately, useless literary waste that line the untouched warehouses of small-time publishing houses until they’re ‘donated’ to enthusiastic second-hand stores to make more room for the next round of ‘sure-fire successes’.
I have fear in my heart – a fear of failure. But not because of how people will react or that some guy I’ve never met before and will never meet in my life will tell 5 of his closest friends on some unknown internet forum not to buy my book. I’m afraid that my message won’t be heard and that my message will be lost forever.
That’s a scary thought.
I think I have ideas that can change the world — REALLY make a difference — and the fact that I can’t articulate them in the silky smooth tones of a classically trained tenor, they might die with me.
So this is the question I have right now: how do I write a book? How to a craft a story?
How do I take the very same 26 letters that the entire English-speaking world (and most of the non-English speaking world) has access to and craft something beautiful, exciting, enlightening, powerful, and real?
The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know — especially about writing. It’s an overused cliche, but it’s overused for a reason – because it’s true. The more I learn about life and myself and business, and everything in between, the more I realise I have the most insignificant amount of specialised knowledge inside my head and that if I hope to be a fraction of the Man I envision myself becoming, I have a long road ahead.
So this is where I start – at the start. Testing and writing and crafting from the foundations up. Over the next 21 days, I’m going to be playing, trying, writing, failing, and starting all over again.
In that time, I hope to take the loosely formed idea floating around my brain and craft them into the foundations of what will eventually become my next book.
But there are no guarantees.
I spent a recent evening listening to Richard Flanagan share tales of writing his Booker Prize winning novel; which he wrote 5 times before he was satisfied that he’d completed something he was truly happy putting his name to.
If I know anything about myself, I’ll be on the south side of 5 before this gets released.
I’ve been on the road for a week so far, exploring the mid-north coast of NSW and found some great inspiration. Breath-taking scenery and the kind of time and space that’s necessary to start organising the thoughts inside my head, but it’s going to be a long trip.
I’ll keep updating this blog with how things are going as I get deeper into the process, but if this is a hard as I imagine it to be, don’t hold your breath for updates…