So you’re thinking about writing a book…?
The best tips about writing a book keep you going forward, remind you how you’ll feel when you’re the proud author of a new book. They tell you the best way to get reviews, where to look for editors, publishers, your audience. But I want to take you to the dark side – the side of mismatched socks, coffee stains on the MS, cats on the keyboard, and disconnecting (from the internet and life). These are the things you really need to know about writing a book:
- 1. Your Ass is Gonna Go Numb
I’m not kidding. If you’re thinking about writing a book you need to know you’ll spend more time sat on your ass than you ever thought possible. You’ll get up to go sit in another room to think, sit and eat, sit on the loo, and then back to the desk where you’ll sit some more. The only respite it gets is when you realize you ran out of coffee again and have to nip to the shop (in the car), or go to bed.
- 2. Gaming Mice are Great for Serial Writers!
Many writers have hand and wrist problems. The pain can be excruciating when you’ve been glued to your computer all week and there’s a deadline ahead. My youngest very kindly donated a gaming mouse to my computer (he had a spare and thought mine was rubbish – it came with the computer). I hardly ever have problems with my hands now.
- 3. The Day You Have the Most to do is the Day the Phone and Doorbell will Ring Non-stop
It’s like salesmen have some kind of radar that tells them you’re trying real hard to stay in the zone and will say (and do) anything to make those people go away.
- 4. Words have calories
It’s amazing how often you’ll come up for air around 6pm and think ‘wow, I haven’t eaten a thing all day.’ when in reality you’ve been grazing without realizing – because your brain was immersed in your work. Top Tip: Have your office or work space as far as you can from the toilet and kitchen, and don’t buy snack foods.
- 5. You need an Author Photo!
When people put your book on their blogs, interview you, mention you, they want a nice photo to use. A nice author photo. Something smart and respectful. Like Terry Pratchett’s or J.K. Rowling’s, Jame’s Patterson’s, or Stephen King’s. Mine would look like a crazed messy haired, eighties t-shirt wearing, coffee mug collecting, teenage kids telling me all about the latest computery gamey thing, escaped mental asylum patient.
- 6. You need to have someone to deal with the computer issues
Because they will (back up everything), and there is no way your ‘I need to finish the book’ head is going to be able to switch to ‘I need to fix the computer’ efficiency. It’s a good thing your computer can’t throw shade back at you – Oh, Hey Cortana 🙂
- 7. You will become the Queen of housework,
shopping, redecorating, gardening, and running errands, the second you see your deadline on the horizon. Nothing like inevitability to make you run in the opposite direction. Everything that you’ve been ignoring for the past few weeks whilst you work on the book, the pots in the sink that make you slightly nervous of what people will think if they pop round, the dust gathering by the skirting board, the piles of washing that never make it to the wardrobe before they get worn again, will magically get done in no time at all. You’ll sing and dance your way around and through everything. Just so you don’t have to think about writing that blasted book.
- 8. The World Goes on without You
You’ll emerge from your self imposed writer hibernation and find things have happened. Important things. Things that the whole rest of the world (it seems) knows about and are discussing. You blink into the bright lights and nod dumbly when people ask your opinion. Or stare until they give up and walk away.
- 9. No one Will have a Clue what you’re Talking About
Like most people who get engrossed in something you’ll talk about it with anyone who will listen. The difference is no one else went through what you went through, they have no idea what you were writing about, or what character you’re talking about. Or even whether you’re just muttering to yourself again like you have been for the past few months whenever they saw you. In the beginning they got excited with you, and for you, right up until they realized you weren’t talking about a new relationship. You were talking about writing a book.
Writing a book is amazing – so long as you don’t expect miracles
There’s going to be some ups and some downs, books people like and other’s they don’t. It’s going to take effort and hard work. But it’ll be fun, and worth it in the end 🙂 Don’t give up just yet.
P.S. Let us know in the comments what other writer issues get missed out when encouraging people to become authors.