Why is it Horribly Hard to Write a Book?

Writing anything is never easy; especially inking exactly what you wish to communicate through a book is one of the hardest things to do. Then why is it that we see so many of us writing about writing? Or, why is it that so many of us are interested in reading about writing? Each day, writers like you and I wake up to a new challenge of pouring thoughts onto our drafts. Each day we spend hours with pens and papers or in front of our computer screens pursuing stories in the void of nothingness. Only a few can consistently get to write. Fewer still get their works published.

With these thoughts, one such day passed for me recently. And, when I pondered on this question of why is it horribly hard for anyone to write a book, out came this post! Here’s why I think only a handful of us make it through to the readers:

You don’t read everyday things rightly.

This is the commonest. Sometimes we just cannot see beyond one plot. So, even if we decide to write about it and move on, all we can do is pen down the fragments of our imagination. If you are one of those who fails to connect the dots, then you are either in a wrong profession or haven’t trained yourself under the right inspiration. Good writing is all about good reading. No, don’t get me wrong on this one; I don’t mean reading good stuff. I mean reading the everyday things around you; looking closely to understand the perspective of the people around you. That inspires you more than anything else. Read people’s emotions; look at how different people behave differently in the same situations amongst the same sets of challenges. Learn to read between the lines; that’s where most stories lie. If you can read those stories correctly, you can write about them, too.

You don’t have a schedule. If you do, you don’t stick to it.

Those who do have a schedule, follow it. So, if you don’t have a schedule, make one and follow it. Most of us fail to make a schedule for their writing. They lose most of their energies in either thinking or planning. What they don’t realize is that too much of either leads them away from their writing goals.

Take a note of the time of the day at which you are the most productive. Reserve that for your writing effort. Break that period into four equal intervals. In the first interval, read through what you wrote yesterday. In the second interval, think of what you wish to cover. Don’t write anything just yet; create a flow of thought. In the third interval, write as much as you can to cover the entire sequence you’ve decided to cover. In the fourth interval, rewrite what you’ve written while what you’ve initially thought of is still fresh in your mind.

You can set a target for you. If you are a fiction writer, for example, set a realistic goal to write 500 words every day. If you wish to come up with a work of nonfiction, setting organized targets will keep your book on track. Make sure you accomplish your daily goals. Once you make a schedule, stick to it. Be regular with your efforts. Follow the plan without a break. Think every day. Write every day. Rethink every day. Rewrite every day.

You don’t get the plot.

As we age, we continue to define and redefine things. We continue to learn something new – I hope that that’s, at least, the case with me. One of the biggest learnings of our lives is that not learning anything at all is still a learning. This applies to writing as well. Mostly writing fiction is about seeing the hero (or protagonist) move from point A to B or from one plot to another or from one challenge to another or even from one story to another. Similarly, most of the nonfiction is also about taking the understanding from one level of quotient to another. But, sometimes the plot lies not in the change but in its observation. The plot, I see, is both about the journey and the destination; about both the content and its accomplishment; about the details and the totality; and sometimes both the character and their story. The better we understand the plot, the better we can write about it.

You are possessive.

I am yet to find a writer who is not possessive about their works. All of us are awestruck with our first drafts. We love them so much that we can’t see anyone finding faults with them – even we ourselves can’t edit them. But, the first drafts hardly contain the quality that our readers deserve to read. And, that’s why getting the work edited is so important. Today when I look at the initial draft of my book, I see a positive impact of the edit iterations.

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This post is an attempt to answer the countless requests and questions I received when I recently released The Write Stride: A Conversation with Your Writing Self. I could see that there are a lot of us who have a lot to share but can’t get the right words. I hope that this post helps them organize their thoughts into a book.

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Suyog Ketkar

He is a certified technical communicator. He believes that writing continues to be an easy-to-do-but-difficult-to-master job. In his work time, he proudly dons the “enabler” cape. In his non-work time, he dons many hats including one of a super-busy father.

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