What it’s really like to write a book
Writing a book is awesome. When I first started working on my book Future You back in the summer 2014 it was a book that is totally different from the one you can now buy. Early 2016 I signed with my publisher to write a book I hadn’t even started. Only when I sat down in January 2017 was it that I realized what the book should be. This is when the adventure began.
The initial six-week-hermit-style-non-stop-writing-brain-dump was epic. I remember when my girlfriend texted me saying “Looking forward to seeing you tonight!” and thus making me realize I had not showered or left the house in three days. Losing myself in the creativity, and being able to make something out of nothing, was all-consuming and amazing.
From awesomeness to crappiness
After those six weeks, and about 70.000 words into it, a tricky situation emerged. I sent my publisher an email saying: “So… I know I was going to write book X but I ended up writing something else entirely. What do think about this book?”. Since she had motivated me to explore different avenues she loved how I got inspired and simply started writing.
Presenting a finished book instead of a proposal is a bit of an emotional struggle. All of a sudden I had a baby, I could not simply change the voice or message of the book anymore. It was hard work figuring out how to make it into a book after writing a book (I know; it sounds weird).
The trickiness turned into agony when I got feedback from my publisher and editor. But all of a sudden my baby was mangled up and needed fixing. For months, with every word I changed I changed the entire book. My awesomeness turned into crappiness.
Self-esteem was gone
Soon after I could not look at the book without thinking to myself: “Who am I to even write this book?” The crappiness and insecurity from editing my book started seeping into my self-esteem.
We had set an insane deadline, and realizing there was only little time to spare, I needed to ignore my self-doubt and push through. Through also ignoring my social life (sorry guys), I was able to finish the book and hand it in.
After about two weeks I revisited what I wrote, having had the time to let the dust settle, and realized all those self-doubts were merely part of the creative process (I think). I came to the conclusion that what I wrote might actually be okay.
Back to being awesome
Now, a few weeks before the launch party, I am back to how it all began: Awesome! I cannot wait to show it to the world and have people read it. I was asked to read parts of it to some close friends last Friday night, and with every part I read long discussions erupted. It was a sign that everything will be alright.
The writing process was amazing. I hope that if you have the goal to also write a book one day, do as I did and follow Epictetus’ advice: “If you wish to be a writer, write.”