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Authors: Don’t write a book about anything that fails to excite you

February 24, 2013

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Someone asked me if I ever get bored of the book I’m writing. That’s a very good question. The short answer is yes. At least, I used to become bored writing a book. The reasons why were pretty simple.

Boredom means losing interest. That’s why an author should always approach the writing of a book with passion. Combine that passion with writing fast, and it’s a good bet you won’t be tired of the book you’re creating halfway through the thing.

Why write about World War II if you don’t find the subject interesting? Why even start a book about the sexual mating habits of mayflies if the topic puts you to sleep?

Write about something you love or care about.  

Okay. Perhaps you’ve knocked off about forty-five thousand words on medieval folk dancing, a subject that has fascinated you for years. But suddenly, you find yourself rambling off topic with your writing.

It could well be a sign that your book is complete or, at least, near finished.

Always go into a book project with passion and plenty of interest built up. Why write a book for any other reason? Write what you want to write about – not what someone else wants you to write or what you think readers want.

Writing a book is not difficult, but it can be when you get bogged down in a project you don’t care that much about. And always write fast. That way, you’ll always have a good head of steam built up, plenty of momentum to carry you through. It’s when you write slow, searching for just the right words, editing as you go along, that the writing becomes a grinding, grueling process. Remember, editing comes after that first draft.

For many years I was a slow writer. I refused to trust my instincts by simply letting lose with my writing. Instead of pouring out the words as fast as I could, I wrote in that slow, painstaking manner. Not surprisingly, I had to drag myself to my writing every day.  

You shouldn’t ask yourself what you want to write about. If you have to ask yourself that question, maybe you’re not quite ready to tackle a book. Do some soul searching. Get some index cards and brainstorm some thoughts. Find out what’s percolating inside you. You’ll come up with something to write about if you really want to give birth to a book.

Desire is the first step, but combine it with passion.

 

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7 Comments
  1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Every writer should follow this advice. Good post.

  2. Thanks a lot for the advice. I have a question about editing, how should we edit? in a slow motion or in a fast motion? How many times we are allowed to edit a book we have written before?

    • Read through your book after you write that first draft. Takes notes on things you want to change. Then go through it again, looking for stuctural changes etc. Make additional sweeps through the book for misspellings, grammatical errors. How much editing you do is really up to you. It’s always a good idea to get someone else to look at your book, or at least proofread it. A second eyes will always come up with something you missed. You don’t always have to agree with that person, however.
      Does that help?

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