I’ve always wanted to write a book.
Every time I read a good piece of literature – whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, historical, a classic or even just a really well-written blog – I think to myself, “that’s what I want to do.” I want to find a publishing company that will front me $50,000 so I can hide away at a villa in Tuscany for six months, and just write. Live, relax, eat, drink and write. (Can I live in Tuscany for 6 months on $50K? I have no idea).
Maybe it’s more the “hiding in Tuscany for 6 months” that appeals to me than the actual book writing, but really, I *DO* want to write, too!
As soon as I start dreaming big, reality sets in. I’m busy. I have a job. I have three kids. And I can’t write. At all.
I mean, I can form letters and words and string them together in sentence after sentence. And I’m pretty much a grammar QUEEN. I recognize the incorrect use of “over” and “under” (for “more than” and “less than”). I know that a sentence should never end with a preposition. I can spell well. Even the hard words.
But the actual writing process? It’s a struggle to me. It’s not simple; never easy.
I have all of these ideas pouring out of my head, but I have a tough time translating them to paper (or the computer screen). Sometimes the grammar goddess in me gets so caught up in forming the sentences properly that I’ve missed the entire thought I was trying to depict.
The best authors are the ones who make it seem so simple. It’s kind of like the best ice skaters. They flip and twirl and never make me nervous that they’re going to fall.
The best authors write words that just roll off the page. I can’t help but turn page after page wondering what’s next. There’s no stumbling. No awkward rambling. No big words that you need to look up in the dictionary. It’s just words on a page telling an interesting and absorbing story – my ideal escape.
Of course, I tend to forget about all the hours an Olympic skater puts into practicing. It takes a lot of hard work to make those moves look easy.
I’m sure it’s the same with writing. You have to write every day – practice. Write letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters before it gets “easy.” Type a blog. Write a thoughtful Facebook post. Send a 140-character tweet.
Maybe it never gets easy. Maybe I’ll always struggle with writing. It doesn’t keep me from dreaming though. I still really want to write a book. A good book. A great book. A book that makes it onto national bestseller lists. A book that has publishing houses knocking down my door to front me the cash to write a sequel.
My friend, Greg, (who writes, of course) recently gave me this advice: “I tell everyone who wants to write a book, write it for yourself and your children. Don’t worry about it becoming a New York Times best seller. Writing is good art, good therapy and good brain work.”
Thank you, Greg. I’m going to go work on my brain now.
Dan Lafferty says
Hey Amy…I recently discussed this with you on one of your other blogs; your blogs are very well-written. I've got two books under my belt and always have countless other ideas in my head or in progress. Your friend gave you the exact same advice I give to aspiring writers, particularly my students: write to create. To leave something behind. Even if no one outside your own family reads it, it still becomes a legacy, something your children will read and then share with their own children. I would love to live on writing alone, but the greatest reward is knowing that you've created something, that the book in front of you would not exist if not for you. I absolutely thrive on revising/editing/advising friends in their writing. If you need help getting startedor with feedback as you go, I'd be honored and privileged to help!
Amy Sweezey says
Thanks, Dan! Great advice. Did you send me your email address?
Dan Lafferty says
I didn't, but here it is: email@example.com. Or feel free to message me on Facebook. 🙂