Lots of people stop themselves from writing a book because they don’t know if something will come out of it (read: they don’t know if they’ll become bestselling authors). They’re afraid of tackling a huge project, wasting time, and making a fool out of themselves.
It doesn’t matter how badly they want it, they won’t do it for “logical” reasons. Writing a book is no easy feat. Neither is finding an agent or actually getting published. If you self-publish, promoting the book is a whole other problem to deal with.
I understand your fears. There’s so much you don’t know. You’re essentially walking into a dark forest without a flashlight. You don’t know where you’re going, which shoes are best for hiking, or how far you’ve got before reaching the end.
How are you supposed to take action when you don’t know if those actions will pay off? Don’t hate me for this overly simplistic answer: you just do it. No, you don’t know if the work will pay off. You could spend three years writing a book, and it might all be for nothing, but what’s the alternative?
If you do it and you fail then at least you can say you tried. At least you won’t end up old, filled with regret, and twisting the same thought — “What would’ve happened if I’d just written the book?” — in your head as if studying a Rubik’s Cube. You know what regret feels like. “What if’s?” are killer.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’m not writing this to tell you that you might be wrong and that you could succeed. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail.
The end result doesn’t matter. You want to know why I’m writing a book? It’s not because I believe I’m a fantastic fiction writer who’s going to end up selling thousands of copies of her book one day. If I’m honest, a huge — and I mean huge — part of me still thinks I can’t get through the first draft.
I’m writing a book for the idiotically simple reason that I want to. I’ve got a story that I need to put on the page. If I don’t, it’s going to haunt me and quite frankly, annoy me like those flies that manage to sneak it when you walk through the front door.
I will gladly waste time on it because I ask again: what’s the alternative? If I don’t waste time writing my book, I’m just going to waste time watching extra hours of Scandal. If you don’t waste time writing, you’ll probably just upload stories on Instagram and tweet for too long. But what sounds better? Tweeting or writing?
You can’t possibly know if your story will end up on the shelves. You don’t know if it’ll be a waste of time, or if it’ll be a huge success, or if you’ll become a bestselling author. But you’ve never known the outcome of anything in your entire life. What makes this any different?
Write your book to have fun. Because it’ll make you happy. Because it beats the alternative.
What makes life so great and fulfilling isn’t the awards you win or the milestones you reach. It’s how you live that life that matters. And if you want to spend a part of your life writing a book (or lots of books), why shouldn’t you?
I don’t know how long you’ll take or how hard you’ll struggle, but I do know that you’re going to like telling the story that’s inside of you right now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a published author, but this is why I write anyway: for love. For a chance. Because I respect myself and my dreams.
Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to do something you love just because you don’t think you’ll succeed. It doesn’t fucking matter if you succeed. Just write the damn book.