Excuses are not your friend
When should you write a book?
When you retire and finally have time to focus on the story?
When you’ve graduated from school and got a stable job, and you can work on it at the weekends?
When the market changes?
When you’ve completed every single writing course on the internet?
When you’ve finally read every classic from the '100 Books to Read Before You Die' list?
When you’re old enough to be taken seriously?
When a mysterious industry gatekeeper grants you permission?
All of these potential answers are, as you may have guessed from the title, completely wrong. The best time to write your book is now.
But why do I say that?
There’s never a perfect time
For one thing, you’ll never find that perfect moment to write your book. There will always be something. Even if you clear your whole schedule for six months to get it done, something will happen. The boiler will need repairs. Your sister and her family will drop by for a visit. You’ll get a cheap deal on a trip to that place you’ve always wanted to see. Your parent will fall ill and need your help. You will fall ill. An unexpected child will come along (or a pet). That new show everyone is talking about will beckon you to binge.
There isn’t a perfect time to write your book. Stop waiting for it. Start it now.
Your first book will be terrible
Your first book will not be a groundbreaking piece of fiction that breaks all sales records. Sorry, but it’s true. Maybe after about a hundred rounds of revisions, you might get there. It’s not a fast process.
Maybe you think you can knock out that book in that perfect time you’ve set aside and then it will be done. It won’t. You need longer than you think. Start it now, and you’ll be able to get it done sooner.
The market changes constantly
One minute we’re reading boy wizards, the next it’s teen vampires. And then it’s divine soldiers who fight against vampires. And then we’re playing epic-scale video games inside a virtual reality. Trends move fast — and that’s just for Young Adult books.
Don’t wait for your theme to come into fashion. When it does, it will already be too late for you to get your first book done and published in time to catch the zeitgeist.
Don’t hold back if your theme is in fashion now, either. When it comes around again, as all trends do, you want to be ready. Start now. Start pitching as soon as you’re done. You might even be the one to kick-start the new trend.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed
Tomorrow, you might:
- Lose the use of your limbs
- Suffer a catastrophic brain injury
- Be offered a new dream job that takes up all of your time
- Be the chosen one standing between humanity and untimely destruction
- Face the apocalypse
- Wake up and find out the world ended and you’re the only one left
- Meet your one true love who insists that you must run away with them into a witness protection programme, thus ensuring you can never become famous or put your real name on anything for fear of being discovered
- Not want to write a novel anymore
Getting the chance to write your novel tomorrow, or any day in the future, is not guaranteed. Do it now.
You have more than one novel in you
If you can write one book, you can write two. And wouldn’t it be a shame if you waited so long, you only had a chance to write one?
Your obstacles are only excuses
You can’t do it now, you tell yourself, because you’re too busy. You don’t have enough disposable income to spend time on a dream. You’re not a good enough writer yet. You haven’t taken enough courses. You broke your hand and can’t type.
If you want to do something badly enough, you will find the time. A book deal could buy you a new house. You will become a better writer by the act of writing. Dictation software will type for you.
It doesn’t matter what reason you see standing in your way. It’s only an excuse. Brush it aside.