A year ago I seriously I seriously started to put finger to keyboard writing a book about my journey since Mum died and my divorce being final. I’ve learned a lot about the process of writing and telling a story, but that’s only been a small part of the journey. It really has been fun, and that’s been the biggest discovery for me.
1. Find a time that works for you.
Someone told me when I started this that I would need one of the following: insomnia, proper coffee maker or a case or two of Red Bull. I know that every conversation I have with Sharon the editor she keeps pausing to take continual sips of coffee, but I never developed a taste for the stuff. I’m not in a rally car sponsored by Red Bull any more, and that stuff is spendy when purchased by the case. Ignoring the amphetamines option just leaves insomnia. After everything that went on last summer I still struggle to keep my energy level up all day, it is often lowest in the evening after work. So I adapted and discovered that by getting up at four I get a couple of hours in with good energy before I’ve got to go to work.
2. Prioritizing my writing
You don’t get to be a proper storyteller by putting it so far down “the list” that it’s sitting between “Ride a Motorbike around Alaska” and “Climb El-Cap”. I have discovered I enjoy writing (editing less so), more than I expected and while I don’t spend two hours every day writing it is something I make sure to carve a little time out for. I am a writer because it’s not just what you do, but rather, it’s part of who I am. And something that important to me becomes a priority.
3. It’s not supposed to be easy
What’s more, for me it’s probably not going to get much easier. Dad once said that stuff really worth doing (I think he was trying to talk me into paint the front of his house at the time) requires a lot of work and skill. I’m starting this as someone who got “could try harder” in English Lit at school, so I’m less prepared than most. This writing thing is hard work, but that’s fine, it’s going to be worth it in the end.
4. Dealing with fear
One of the themes through my writing is how I deal with change and fear. That could be fear of the unknown, failure, what I will become if I don’t change or fear of what people will think. A little preparation, being pragmatic about it and fear is diminished. I have found that if I face my fear head on and it’s gone. I was told at a conference last year that people who fail at writing typically do so for one of two reasons. First they were lazy, or two because they were afraid. I’m not lazy, so if I failed it would be because of the second. What’s the worst that can happen?
Is writing a book is going to see me fed to the tigers in the coliseum? Nope.