The three biggest myths about writing your own book

Hi guys! Today is a good day for me because my third fiction novel, called Ashakaan, has been released. People are often amazed when I tell them that I write books, they think it’s great. Some also groan and wince. Comments usually range from “oh, I would never have the patience!” to “I always wanted to write a book, but…”.

One of the reasons I offer book writing coaching services as part of my practice is that when people say “I want to, but…” that is a clear sign that they are struggling with what we call in NLP a limiting decision. So when did you decide that you needed to add a ‘but’ to your dreams?

If you are thinking of writing a book, here are three myths that do not stand up to scrutiny and will make you feel good about starting:

  • Myth one: You can’t be a writer if you don’t get signed up by a publishing company.

Of course you can. Recently someone asked me the question. The usual, boring, predictable one, you know? The one that often comes with a little smirk and a condescending chuckle “But you’re not a ‘real’ writer if you ‘only’ self-publish, are you?” I think it’s a funny question that reveals a lot about the person doing the asking, and highlights how easy it can be to become a prisoner of our own definitions! Listen: we are what we do! And we live in extremely enabling times, so let’s make the best of it! Whether you want to write your own songs, release a movie, or write a book, you can. The only thing stopping you is yourself.

  • Myth two: Writing a book takes way too long - no one has that sort of time!

Really? Who says? Okay, so let’s say the average novel is around 70,000 words. If you commit to writing just 1,000 words per day, that means your first draft could be ready in under two and a half months. Add time for edits (I’d say four weeks) and time to work on your cover (another two weeks) and there it is! You could have a new book in four months’ time. Worth it? Sure it is! And before you tell me that you don’t have the time to commit to writing 1,000 words per day, if you really want to get your book out there, trust me, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse. Either way, you will get the result that you want!

  • Myth three: You need a degree or to do a creative writing course.

Everything you need is already inside of you. So if you want to write, just write. If you have something inside of you that wants to come out, and writing is your preferred medium, just do it! The one thing I would say as well, which you have probably been doing anyway, is if you want to be a writer, read. In his book On Writing, which I highly recommend, Stephen King says that, “reading is the creative centre of a writer’s life.” Read a lot, enjoy studying the craft, fall in love with commas! When I was a kid I used to collect words. I had a notebook in which I kept all of my favourite words. Words like étoile (‘star’ in French). In my mind, the word étoile twinkles… There’s the magic for you!

Happy writing! 

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