It used to be that everyone had a business card. Most of us still do but, now, having your own book is becoming more de riguer than ever. Is it because people communicate by words more often than we used to, what with social media and email? Is it because somewhere in our collective unconscious resides the old Chinese maxim: Every (wo)man should build a house, have a son and write a book.
A book idea lingers. It hangs about the back of your mind. It wants to come to life. It sings its siren song: “You should write about me.” Here’s why you should listen to its call:
1. There’s a marvelous feeling of bringing fantasy into reality.
You’ll feel accomplished. You’ll learn exactly why that idea kept jiggering around your mind. You’ll find out what that impulse had to tell you (and others). You will get something out of your system that needs to come to life. You will learn what your unconscious is doing tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “I want you to write THIS.” You’ll find out that even though the reality is different than the fantasy of writing a book, the reality has gifts you need to learn about yourself.
2. You’ll have tremendous fun being your real self.
When you write, you don’t have to temper it in order to be “polite,” dumb it down to get along with your in-laws, you don’t have to be ashamed of your fantasies. You can show and say what you really feel about a subject or a life. The stronger your sentiments and beliefs are, the more power in the writing and story. Your voice is your strength and so writing a book is the one place you can be your real self and the more you write as yourself, the more unique will be your story. The more specific you are in detail and feeling, the more universal your story will be. It’s an oxymoron of writing.
3. There are resources everywhere to help you with craft.
Nowadays there are online courses, coaches to teach you, and books to help you maneuver the shoals of craft when writing a book. You need to know how dialogue works, how you devise characters, what authors are talking about when we speak of “voice.” It is unlikely a coach or book will help you become a neurosurgeon but there are plenty of resources around to help you get started writing, keep you writing, and help you exceed at your original goal.
4. You will be transformed in the process.
Writing a book is a journey and you will be transformed as you experience the theme of your book. You will be transformed as you go into the subject of your book with depth and tease out every nook and cranny of it and therefore discover what gold lies therein for you. You will exhaust the inner meaning of the subject and become free of it, only to find another subject you wish to know in depth. You will grow from both the realizing of a dream, and from the content of your dream itself.
5. The cost of entry to publishing has changed.
Of course, you may be one of the lucky ones who finds a publisher. But, even if not, self publishing an e-book on amazon is virtually free, and self publishing a paper book becomes less costly by the minute. So it is not as if your book will never see the light of day. Self published books look as good as those of publishing houses’. You can hire pr agents to promote your book or simply tell your social network to spread the news. It can be the start of a new career or become an unexpected sideline for you.
6. One is never too old or young to begin.
Hariett Doerr wrote her first book, STONES FOR IBARRA, in her 80s. It was an amazing hit. Francoise Sagan wrote as a teenager. The playing field is open. It’s all about the passion of what you have to say and your perseverance when saying it. Writing a book adds meaning to your life and one is never too old or young to engage in meaning. A book can be a legacy of yours for future generations of your own family or it can be a way to communicate with a future community of like-minded people.
7. Writing is a bit like meditating.
True, it is seemingly more difficult but writing is a zen activity of concentration and yet no-concentration in that you have to let your mind be free to make associations. But like meditation, it is renewing and centering and a place where you can replenish your inner sense of self and dialogue with the rest of the world.