Dear Aspiring Author: This is the real reason you haven’t written your book yet. (PS. It’s got nothing to do with talent.)
Newsflash — it doesn’t matter how talented you are, you won’t write your book until you do this one thing.
“Wow, you’re writing a book? You must be super talented!”
Sidling up to a set of kettlebells, I look over at the gym junkie beside me — a woman whose face is alight with a newfound sense of ‘awe’ as she takes in what it is I do for work.
“I don’t think I could ever write a book, I don’t think I’d be good enough,” she quips, slipping on a pair of boxing gloves and patting in place the velcro strips.
Although I smile politely at her comment, inwardly, I feel a little sad as she says this. You see, the ‘talent’ reference is something I tend to hear a lot. It’s also one of the first excuses people often use as to why they should give up.
Now don’t get me wrong, talent and skill are absolutely crucial to creating a manuscript that people want to read…but they’re not the ‘be all’ and ‘end all’ of writing a book.
At the end of the day, talent actually plays a pretty small part in the process. Why? Well, the truth is, being ‘talented’ isn’t actually much help when it comes to knuckling down and getting your book finished.
(So if you’ve been putting off writing your book because you don’t feel good enough, breathe a sigh of relief and keep reading…because you can definitely achieve your dreams!)
SO…what does it take to write a book?
In my work as a memoir writing coach, freelance journalist, and ghostwriter, I’ve come across a lot of people with incredible stories.
And although some of the people I’ve interviewed or worked with have been incredibly high profile — like Michael Crossland (who beat a rare form of childhood cancer to become an internationally renowned author/speaker who shares the stage with celebrities like Richard Branson), I’ve learned something very interesting…
Which is this:
Some of the most remarkable writers I’ve ever worked with have been ‘everyday’ community members…men and women who’ve gone through deeply traumatic challenges or adversities, and risen above to create a meaningful life.
They’re not celebrities. Most never even went to university to study creative writing. And what’s more, most of my clients would probably willingly tell you that grammar isn’t their strongest skill.
In fact, most of them — at one time or another — told me they weren’t sure they were ‘talented’ enough to write and publish their stories.
But you know what? Each of them did. And it wasn’t talent that helped them get from an idea to being published.
It was commitment.
Yep. The truth is, the only thing between those who dream of writing a book and those who actually DO IT (like many of my friends and clients), is making a daily commitment to yourself and your writing.
I can honestly say this, because on the flip side, I’ve also met many incredible people with truly inspiring and remarkable stories to tell — yet year after year, their dreams remain just that…
And despite passion, enthusiasm, or even a gift for writing, they become so overwhelmed with the process of how to write a book, that they eventually give up.
So…What does ‘commitment’ actually look like?
Below are some of the most common excuses I hear from people as to why it’s too hard to write a book. Beside each one, I’ve also added an easy solution for how you can commit to your goals in order to overcome each obstacle.
Excuse #1: ‘I’m too busy.’
I know, I know…but seriously, who isn’t?
Many of the people I work with have a lot going on in their lives — between the stress of everyday life, running charities or businesses, trying to maintain self-care, dealing with toddler tantrums (okay, I may be speaking about myself here haha), and trying to make time for their writing, it’s tough!
But, again, it’s all about commitment.
So if you’re still dreaming of writing a book, but it’s not going anywhere, try making space for your writing — even if it’s just 30 minutes per day, three days a week. That’s six hours of progress every month. And if you’re truly too busy to sit down and write, why not ‘speak’ your story into your voice recorder app and type it up later?
Alternatively, you can also look into hiring a ghostwriter to save you time and energy.
Excuse #2: ‘I didn’t go to university, so what hope do I have?’
I’m sorry, but this is just a bulls**t excuse, my friend.
Whilst a creative writing degree can definitely make your journey to learning how to write a book much easier, it’s not an absolute. Sure, there’s a skill to editing and crafting your words so that your story comes out as beautifully as possible, but those are all things you can get support with.
That said, if you’re really struggling, you may want to make a commitment to investing in a professional author mentor or writing coach who can help you improve (and polish) your writing.
Excuse #3: ‘I don’t have the money to write a book.’
This is probably one of the most common excuses, and you know what? I totally get it — most of us aren’t rolling in cash.
But honestly, how many times have you swung by your morning coffee shop on the way to work, or mindlessly tapped on your ‘Uber Eats’ app without a second thought?
How many times have you looked at a new dress, or the latest iPhone and thought, “OMG, I have to have that! Plus it’s totally on special….”
But the thought of investing in a writing support mentor or a creative writing course? “OMG, that’s way too expensive.”
Life is all about priorities — and that includes your writing goals.
Many of my #everydaywriters have had to get creative to achieve their dreams. Some have even crowdfunded to achieve the support they’ve needed to get their dreams out of their heads and onto paper.
So, let’s be real for a moment…
If you’ve got $5 to spare on your daily pre-work coffee, you’ve got enough money to grab yourself a budget notebook and pen, and get writing.
Talent is only a small part of the equation, but commitment is everything.
So, if you’re staring at your draft manuscript right now, asking yourself: “Am I really good enough to be a writer?’, then the answer is: Yes — BUT, only if you make your dreams of writing a book a daily and weekly priority, and commit to getting writing support where you need it.
Are you looking for an author mentor and writing coach to help you get your ideas out of your head and onto paper? Get in touch at jasrawlinson.com or check out my free guide on The #1 tip to getting your story out of your head and onto paper.