So You Want to Write a Book?


You Decided to Write! YAY! Exciting! You can’t wait! I can’t wait! We all can’t wait!
It’s going to be the next Great American Novel. Or a novella. Or a short story. Or flash fiction. Whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be amazing. And then the moment arrives. Your fingers are poised above the keyboard, ready to strike and bring your vision to life and then…crickets. A void. A silence so profound you might be in a sensory deprivation tank. The page is diabolically blank. Your mind, generally so useful and nimble, is also a blank. Your fingers remain hanging in the air.
A strange feeling that is some combination of annoyance and frustration sprinkled with a soupçon of anxiety has crept over you. The thing that was going to be exciting and fun is inexplicably…not.
Through the fog of disappointment, you suddenly hear a metaphorical ding, ding, ding. You realize what the problem is. You must delay. After lunch would be a better time to start writing because that ham sandwich is going to set your ideas on fire! Or tomorrow might be even more ideal. Or maybe next week or on your next vacation, or when the kids go to elementary school, or better yet, when they graduate from college, or maybe wait until you’re retired and you have all that free time… and now somebody is speaking at your funeral. “We never did find out why Phyllis didn’t write her book.”
What is happening to you? Why is it happening to you?
There are so many free resources about the craft of writing available. There are books, there are forums, there are online groups. There is probably a group that meets in-person somewhere near you. Anything and everything you could possibly want to know about the craft is within reach. You might have already read a stack of books. Maybe you can talk about writing like you’re an adjunct professor teaching a class.
And yet, you cannot get started writing that book you are determined to write. Is it that there are so many elements to writing fiction and you’re having a hard time putting them together?
No, that can’t be it. You can’t have a hard time putting all the elements together when all you’ve got is a blank page and no elements yet.
Should you feel bad that this blank page insists on staying blank like it’s a job? Is it a personal failure?
No. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for what is happening here.
There is a villain messing with you, and the villain is in you.
But how can that be? You love you and always try to do the best for you. You’re your own best friend. Why would you turn against you?
The villain is part of your brain. It is the part that feeds on your will to live. It’s your reptilian brain.

Read the entire article in the November 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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