Don’t leave your book in the Bucket…

by Taryn Johnston

“There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.”
— Somerset Maugham

Over the last eight years of having my publishing companies, I’ve spoken to a great number of people about whether, they could/should/would write a book.  I get asked a lot whether everyone really does have a book in them, I’ll be honest and there
has only been one occasion in all that time, that I ever met someone that didn’t. Even now I
think she simply let fear stop her from really thinking about it.  So yes, in my opinion 99.9% of people have a book in them. The challenge really, is in deciding what sort of book and then getting some traction.

When it comes to a bucket list project well that’s a different story really, it’s likely to be a
legacy project and so could go one of several ways::

• A memoire/autobiography – tell your family and friends about you and your past, let them know
where they came from and the tantalising titbits, they never knew about you.
A childhood story that you used to tell your children and now maybe your
• A “how to” book on your favourite hobby.
A novel of your favourite genre.

All of these are great legacy projects, it’s all down to what floats your boat and what you will find the easiest/most engaging to do. 

Close your eyes and imagine yourself holding your book. What does it look like? How big is
it? Is it glossy and colourful or thick and weighty? Seeing it in your mind’s eye is the first step to actually making it happen.  Of course then you have to write it.  Now this is where the obstacles get neatly placed… and I can almost hear them running around your head:-

• I can’t write
• No one will want to read it
• I don’t have anything interesting to say
• I don’t know how to write
• How would it get published?
• People will think I’m being pretentious
• What do I know about writing?

I’m sure that there are a few more but they’re the most common. Every writer has had at least one or two of those thoughts. 

I get a lot of letters from people. They say: “I want to be a writer. What should I do?” I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.”
— Ruth Rendell

So what’s the answer? You probably won’t like it, it’s very straightforward and doesn’t involve a retreat.  Start writing.  Whether it’s in a notebook or on your computer, it doesn’t matter at this stage. Right now you’re planning it.   For tips on this part click here, there a blog that will get you started.  Once you have figured out what you want to write, then I recommend you make a start. You may find it very cathartic to remember events that happened or to release the voices in your head and give them life on paper!  However, a blank piece of paper will never tell your story and no one will see what you can create if you don’t get the words out.

All of the authors I’ve worked with have had different reasons for creating their book, some felt that their knowledge would be lost when they died, others just couldn’t rest because stories kept them up at night. Novel characters tend to be very loud when cooped up in your mind for too long. I love the first moment of seeing at idea come out, that point when the authors starts to talk
about a book and you see that fire, that spark. It’s a true gift to be able to share that with someone and I get to do it time and time again.

I will warn you that writing can become addictive, once you start and the words flow there is an excitement and a real sense of achievement, close on the heel of that are dry times when the words don’t want to come. Both can drive you to distraction but neither should stop you. You may decide never to let anyone else see it and that too is OK, it’s the writing of it that counts.

So if writing your book is part of your bucket list, then you know what to do.  Please start now and if you would like help and advice, please get in touch.

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