Two weeks ago I (Dara) shared a really cool novel idea with my husband Tomme.
We were at the movies and mid action scene, I poked him in the arm, leaned over (ignoring his obvious annoyance), and whispered my idea with child-like glee. Never mind he could barely hear me.
I was just proud to share it with someone. In my mind once you share your book idea, you’re obligated to write it. Or at least try. It’s a legal contract I have with myself. My brain believes I must make it happen because I’ve spoken it into existence.
But here’s the deal. Since I had my idea, I’ve thought about it nonstop. Yet, I’ve written one paragraph in two weeks. I won’t offer up the many excuses I have to explain my poor progress.
I’m done with the excuses.
My husband surprised me this afternoon. He asked how my idea was coming along. I guess he heard me that night at the movies afterall.
“Babe, it’s an amazing idea. You gotta write that book.”
Shame, guilt, and self-loathing all began to stir in the pit of my stomach.
And then I snapped out of it.
I remembered the best writing advice I’ve EVER received. The author who shared this advice is a friend of mine, Beth Bednar, whose book Dead Air has done exceptionally well. Beth was wonderful enough to be our keynote speaker for a publishing event we hosted last summer.
We all leaned in as she shared her number one tip for writers in the form of four simple words:
Write the Damn Book.
It was quiet for about five seconds. Then our room of one hundred broke into cheers and applause.
We writers in the room all knew what it feelt like to not be writing the book we should be writing. We had all felt shame for not getting it done — for not writing the damn book.
So as you ponder the year ahead and how you intend to make it kick-ass, remember what’s keeping your book from achieving it’s rightful position among the living: you. Get out of your way. There’s never going to be a “right” time, enough money, peace and quiet for months straight, and that book ain’t gonna write itself.
So when you’re tired: write the damn book.
When you’re wondering who’s going to read it: write the damn book.
When (not if) the day comes and a wonderful story idea lays itself in your lap: write the damn book.