What is the best advice you can hear to help you write a book?
Two words: Show up. The more you show up to write your book, the better chance you will not only write a book, but complete and publish it, too.
Here is its value. Showing up to write a book – whether you do it in systematic spurts or daily – reveals you take yourself seriously and give to yourself lovingly as a writer.
One writer who took my workshop said, “I realized my life always comes back to writing… Now I don’t wait until there is time and space for me to write my book. I schedule time to write daily and hold onto it. And I am writing…finally.”
Another writer from one of my writing groups echoed this wisdom, “Those two words – ‘show up’ – have been the most important writing advice I ever received to write my book. Since then, I show up and write for a few hours each day. Writing is what I love to do. It’s also the discipline I need to get my book done. The writing does not flow every day. Some days, I sit in the silence. Other days, I do research for my book. At times, rewriting can seem tedious – and endless. But showing up to write the book, no matter what happens during the writing time, is part of the process. Showing up, I completed my manuscript.”
I recently attended a presentation by a successful screenwriter who also knew the importance of showing up to write. When she was already a successful screenwriter, she also became a wife and mother. She continued to write at home, but her children started to interrupt her with regularity. She could not concentrate on her writing and maintain creative momentum. Sound familiar?
This writer did not hesitate. She sat her family down and told them, “I love you. You are important to me. But so is writing. And I can’t write when you interrupt me. So it’s your choice. I can either stay at home and write or rent a space and write or go to a coffee house to write. But know that I am going to do whatever is necessary to keep on writing.”
Miracle of miracles, her children began to respect her writing space, and she was able to stay home to write after all.
I have found “showing up” to be critical to my writing process, too. As much as I believe you only need 15 minutes a day a few days a week to get started to write a book, I also believe in the value of showing up. Consistently. This consistency of writing practice lets your writer self grow strong. It lets your writer self know on a deep visceral level that you are there for it, that you will show up. That more often than not, you will not follow the multitude of other voices that call you to go, do, live, work, play, handle all that is other than writing a book.