If you’ve never thought about writing a book, check your pulse. According to New York Times reporter Joseph Epstein, 80% of Americans feel they have a book inside them. Not hard to imagine. Think about how often you have told favorite stories time and time again to friends and family. We tell ourselves we are going to write them down when we find some time to do it. Whoever really has that time? Yet, it isn’t a matter of time that keeps us from doing it. It’s a matter of drive and discipline.
Christopher Melore in Society & Culture News’ points out that of the 97% of people who begin writing a novel, only 30(3%) out of 1,000 go on to finish it. Six out of the 30 see it published. That means that only .006% of all individuals who say they are going to write a book actually publish it!*
I wrote a book. It’s not published yet. Truth be told, it may never be. One day I sat down to write a self-help business book about how to become indispensable to an employer. Things took a bunch of twists and turns once I got started. Eight years later, I completed a 500-page novel about a middle manager trapped in a Fortune 500 company. It’s entitled, Caught in the Middle.
I’d love to see my novel in print. Maybe someday I will. Either way, my kids have a history of what I did before they were even born. And, now they understand what I was doing traveling the country for my company as a salesman while they were growing up. If nothing else, I have created a legacy.
Writing Caught in the Middle also sparked a whole new direction that I would never have known without going through the process. I am happy to short-cut that experience for you. Parallel to my book writing, I began to write a series of short stories about my life. I’d read them to colleagues at lunch and soon had a following of people who stopped by to listen. Before long, some members in my audience encouraged to turn my tales into podcasts. The result is my podcast series, Out-Of-Place short stories.
If you found this blog, you are already on the road to writing some things you’d like to share with the world. The statistics I cited above, combined with my own experience writing a book, provide you with a sobering pathway of what to expect. However, I strongly encourage you to write some short stories first. It doesn’t take anywhere near the discipline of writing a book, and the satisfaction is more immediate and rewarding. After that, if you still have a book inside you burning to get out, have at it.
*Note: Not all books are stories. Most fall into three categories: Non-fiction, cookbooks, and self-help.