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This past weekend I heard from people who had joined the Write Your Book community in 2011, 2012, 2013. It blew my mind that they’d stayed on my list that long, reading emails, commenting on blog posts, keeping their books alive and waiting for the right time to write their books—perhaps just starting, or perhaps returning to material they began years ago. In the past few days, many of them have stepped up and committed to programs that can help them produce a first draft in as little as eight weeks.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to buy anything or step up yourself. In fact, I’m going to suggest you give yourself some slack if you’re not ready!
You may not have the time, “head space,” or energy to commit to write a first draft in the next several months, but I imagine you do want to stay connected to your book. You want to think about it, maybe do some writing when you can.
What you don’t want is to forget about that dream completely. You want to hold on to that spark of inspiration, maybe even have it grow into a cozy fireplace fire to warm you.
I can tell you that any time you spend on your book will help make that book a reality in the future, whether you’re “just” day dreaming about your future as a published author or you’re actually typing words into a computer file for Chapter 3. You’re keeping your book alive.
I met Tara Mardigan in 2010 at Harvard Medical School’s publishing course and she confessed that she “always wanted to write a book.” We kept in touch over the years. Three and a half years later, I worked with her and her co-author Kate Weiler as they conceptualized and structured the book that became Real Fit Kitchen, published in 2015 by Fair Winds Press. During the interim, Tara took one of my classes, commented on blog posts and read my newsletters when she could make the time.
At the time, as nutritionist for the Red Sox who also saw private clients, Tara wasn’t able to make time to devote herself to her book for several years. She kept it alive by reading, noting ideas on index cards, filing away recipes and thinking about book ideas from time to time. All that time reading emails and blog posts, staying connected, I imagine her subconscious was also working on the book. And all those recipes filed away saved time later when writing in full swing.
I met Carol Lambert at the Harvard Medical School CME Publishing course as well. Carol, too, took a hiatus during an intense time, yet her worked helped her stay connected to her publishing dreams.
“My inspiring clinical work that I immersed myself in each week kept the flame lit in the value of what I had to offer. I never let go of the strong desire to write what I learned in order to reach more women—a much wider audience—who could benefit. At one point, I asked myself what would I regret at 80 years old and the first thing that came to my mind was, “Not finishing my book.” This set me on a course to prioritize my writing all the way to completion.”
I can share many other examples of now-published authors, or emerging authors who have signed a book deal and are completing their manuscripts, who did not truly “buckle down” for many years. Now, some writers feel guilty about not writing, or even shameful. Please, don’t do that to yourself. These gestating authors may even read a newsletter article or blog post and use the information to beat themselves up over not producing. But not you. Please, use others’ successes to fuel your own. Take joy in their accomplishments and know that this will be you one day.
Find little ways to move forward with your book and trust that you are on the right path.
Here are 7 Ways to Keep Your Book Alive:
Please share what you’re doing to keep your book alive, or ask your questions as a comment below.