Do you feel you have a book in you? Have you been secretly harbouring the dream of writing it down one day?

The Dream

Many people feel, deep down, that they have ‘a book in them.’ They would love to write it down – pen to paper or, more likely these days, finger to computer key – and see it become a reality.

If you have no impulse in this direction whatsoever, then don’t bother to read further.

However, if you find yourself nodding and thinking, “Yes, how does she know about my secret dream? Yes, I would love to put my ideas down and get a book published,” then read on.

The Book

Perhaps you have always loved to create stories. Or you told stories to your kids and your partner said they were so good, you should write them down. Perhaps you love to read books about crime or romance or even zombies, and you feel you could write one, too.

Why not? This is a very reasonable idea.

It could be you have had a particularly interesting life. Or you experienced some drama in your life – a terrible disease, the unexpected death of a loved one, a hurricane that blew your house away – and you would like to tell others about it.

Or you might have been helped over some hurdle and you would like to share with others what helped you most. Why not? These are also reasonable ideas.

Getting Started

The hard part is sitting down to do it. You may think this is because you have never done it before, but I can assure you that even experienced authors often have the same problem.

Before you even sit down to write, there will be a lot of issues you need to resolve. If you are writing a story, do you know who is to be included and what happens from beginning to end? Do you know the personalities of your characters? It is not necessary to know all of this, but it helps.

If you are writing a memoir, where does it begin? What are the important points you want to emphasize?

Whatever the case with your story, you should know for whom you are writing it. Who is likely to read it and enjoy it? Regardless of the genre you choose, it is very important to know your audience.

Getting Help

There is a lot of helpful information available for aspiring authors. A simple search will reveal many books and websites about writing. There may even be a local writers group you can go to.

If you are one of those people who want to get started first and seek help later, that’s fine. Whatever works for you is the best approach. It’s okay if you prefer to seek help once you have got something down and have a ‘feel’ for whether it is what you were aiming for.

Publishing

I could write a book about publishing. In short, let me say that it is not at all easy to get a traditional publisher. However, it is very easy to self-publish. Publishing independently has become trendy in recent years, and some self-published books are very successful.

Remember, there is loads of help along the way. It might feel a very long way off – and it probably is ­– but it is not an impossible goal.

Why Are You Writing?

I have left the most important question for last – why do you want to do this?

If it is to become famous, then yes, it is possible, but it’s also very unlikely. Many experienced authors write loads of books and do not become famous. That is just the nature of writing.

Do you want to make money? I will give the same answer. It is possible, but not very likely. Few writers do. Most have a ‘day job’ to keep them going. Even ones you think would be living off their writing.

But if it is because you want to challenge yourself and do something that is genuinely exciting, then this is the project for you. It is fun, you learn a lot – especially about yourself – and it is enormously rewarding.

It may even be good for your health! There is increasing attention to the role of such challenges in keeping us young and of good mind.

I would say, go for it – what do you have to lose?

Do you have a real yen to write a book? Have you started writing a book? Are you enjoying the process? What are some hurdles you discovered along the way? Please share your experience with the community.

Ann RichardsonAnn Richardson is a writer and grandmother. She is fascinated by other people’s thoughts, experiences and emotions and loves to write books where they can express their views in their own words. Her most recent book is Celebrating Grandmothers: Grandmothers Talk About Their Lives. Ann lives in London, England, as do her two children and two grandsons. Please visit her website here.

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