…But you have another ambition.
You’d like to be an author. Of a book. With pages and a cover.
We all know it’s true. A lot of us get into blogging in the hopes of becoming authors. When I started blogging over four years ago, becoming an author wasn’t the first thing on my mind. But as I saw more and more bloggers publishing books, it became a goal for me too, though I wouldn’t admit it to many people.
Well, it’s hard to believe that we are just two months away from April 1, the release of my first book, Life After Art. It’s an event that I could not have imagined less than a year ago.
So, along with the Creative Giants series, today I’m starting a five part series, which I hope will encourage you, the blogger who would like to cross over into writing your own book someday.
This is my path to publication.
First, 10,000 Hours
It’s easy to think in social media world that it’s easy for anyone to accomplish anything they want to.
But we know it’s not true.
Like I said, I started blogging in October 2008. It took a good year of solid writing before I figured out what I was doing. Another year after that to even think that writing could be something I could do outside of the blog. You know how they say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something? Well, I started from square one.
If you are wondering, or discouraged about how long it’s going to take you to achieve your ambitions (any of them), don’t worry. There really aren’t any overnight success stories, except the made-up ones.
A Couple of False Starts
Life After Art was not the first book I tried to write.
Seriously. A couple of summers ago, while I was off of school, I thought I had a killer idea for a book. I didn’t have a publisher, or any connections. I didn’t tell anyone about my idea. I just sat down and tried to write.
Then I sat down and tried to write it. It was garbage. It was all wrong. It was a struggle to put words to the page. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was trying to write something I wasn’t supposed to write. I was trying to force it.
So I tried again. Another idea. Starting fresh.
And another false start. I hung up my second attempt at a book a couple of weeks later. I told myself I must not be a real author at heart. I must be a blogger at heart. If I were an author, then I would not have failed to write a book. I had wasted a few weeks and a lot of time and was feeling really discouraged about the whole thing.
“Do You Want To Write a Book?”
At the end of 2010, I met Darrell Vesterfelt. He just randomly contacted me, because he does that. So I drove across town, really too far to meet a stranger, and we had coffee.
Over the next few months, we became great friends. He launched Prodigal Magazine. I started writing for him. And one night, I had a phone call with him and his new wife, Ally.
“Matt, do you want to write a book?”
I sucked in my breath, anxious about the question. I confessed for the first time that I did, and I had actually tried and failed a couple of times.
“Well, let’s think about what you can write about.” Darrell and Ally said this because they are great encouragers.
The next hour was the key for me. Sometimes, all you need is someone to be a soundboard for you, to bounce ideas off of. You need someone to encourage you, to tell you when you have an idea worth pursuing. Sometimes, you can’t just keep trying and failing in private like I wanted to do. Life After Art didn’t have a name, but it was conceived just about a year ago in a phone conversation with two friends.
Do you need a sounding board? An encourager? Someone to just ask, do you want to? I’ll be that guy. Seriously. Tell us about your writing ambitions, your false starts, your hopes and dreams, and let’s encourage each other.