You want to write your own story. Maybe you want to write for your own enjoyment. More likely you want to record your life story as a gift to your kids or grandkids. Maybe you think what you have learned in your life will benefit more people, and you want to share your story with the world.
The amazing thing is you can do it. You can write your story and share it with the world. Anyone can publish anything they want online. It is a new time in publishing, and there are many resources out there to help you self-publish. I have benefited from The Book Designer, Agent Query, and many other resources.
So it’s been an idea in your head. But how do you actually do it? How do you write a complete book? I am going to write a series of blog posts about how I did it. My hope is that you will see that you can do it too.
Who Can Write a Book?
Some people are no doubt born to write. Other people are go-getters, and they get it done because they are diligent and they commit to a project and finish. Which one are you? Whether you are a born writer or not, you can write a book. It doesn’t mean it will be easy for you. But maybe you are the kind of person who gets things done even if they aren’t easy. Maybe you have more of what it really takes…
Because the truth is that a person who finds it easy to write might not be able to finish a project. That was me. I love to write but I have very little self-discipline. I’m kind of a slacker—sometimes, not all the time. So I needed to find my motivation to write.
What is your motivation? I can tell you right now, there are two things that will not motivate you to write a book.
Two wrong motivations for why you should write a book:
#1 The fantasy that the book will make you rich
#2 The fantasy that the book will bring you success or fame
Get these ideas out of your head right now, because they will cloud your clear thinking. The motivation of money or fame is so very false and temporary. This motivation will disappear in a poof as soon as you get through chapter one and it’s not very good and you don’t know where to go next. Because ten thousand times along the way—maybe it’s initially at chapter three or page 300—you realize that you probably did all this work for nothing. Either no one will ever read it, or they will read it and hate it. Why bother?
But you keep going. For two good reasons.
Two great motivations for writing a book about your life:
#1 The truth that you care about the people who will benefit from hearing your story
#2 The truth that something bigger than yourself—God—called you to write about your life
If you feel called to write and your motivation is to help people, nothing should stop you. It’s never a waste of your time to help someone when you understand what he or she is going through. It’s never a waste of time to follow a call to be productive and create something good.
But if your motivation is success, money, or fame, you might find writing a book to be a great waste of time. If your concern is how to find a publisher who will get your book some great marketing, you might be confused and discouraged.
My author friend gave me some great advice in the first stages of writing my first book, and I’d like to share it with you today:
“JUST FINISH.” –Leigh Purtill
(Maybe she heard it from someone else too? Either way, it’s great advice.)
I also heard some really encouraging advice from an author who was interviewed by Tavis Smiley. I apologize because I have no idea what her name is. But she had some of the most inspiring advice for writers:
“If you (publish, create, invent, sell) something that will help people, you can’t stop the money from coming in.”
So if you have the right motivation—to help people—it’s time to get started.
I have four more posts on How to Start Writing Your Life Story.