When I wrote my first book, Easy Peasy Potty Training, all I wanted to do was fulfill a lifelong dream of being an author. Once it was published, I thought I could sit back on my laurels, satisfied. After all, I’d achieved my big, hairy, audacious goal.
I had no idea that writing my first book would unleash the creative genie. There was no way it was going to be vanquished back into its bottle after that. I was carried away into the most magnificent creative adventure. One book led to another and then another. I blinked, five years went by and I have now written and published ten books! My latest book, Embrace Your Awesomeness, was released almost exactly five years to the day after Easy Peasy Potty Training.
At the start, I knew zilch about writing, publishing or marketing a book. Absolutely nothing. Zero. To say I have learned a lot in the past five years is like saying the universe is a pretty big place. Out of all this information, I have selected the biggest insights I picked up along my creative journey.
Here are three major lessons from writing 10 books in 5 years…
1) Creativity is a Rollercoaster
When I was writing my first book, on some days I thought my writing was the worst garbage imaginable. On other days I could not get a single word down. Occasionally, a perfect sentence would sprout up and then simply not fit into the book, no matter how hard I tried.
And when I was writing my tenth book, exactly the same phenomena happened.
The only difference between my first and tenth book was that I expected the creative process to be a rollercoaster. There are so many lows, but sometimes there are highs and they are euphoric. I now look forward to these too, like when I read something amazing that I have no memory of writing or when the perfect paragraph flows from my fingers. And I especially love those rare occasions when something I write moves me to tears.
Major lesson number one from writing 10 books in 5 years: creativity is a rollercoaster.
2) Writing is Rewriting
When I am asked what my biggest tip is for aspiring authors, my answer is always, ‘one space after a period or full stop, not two’. It is a good soundbite and it often makes whoever asked the question laugh, but it is no joke.
Ernest Hemingway apparently said “writing is rewriting”. First drafts are meant to be the equivalent of cake mixture. A book, any book, needs rewriting, self-editing and proof-reading. Depending on your budget, it is also advisable to add in extensive checks by online programs, beta readers, a professional editor, or all three. Only then can you present your writing to the world like you would a perfectly-baked gateau.
Major lesson number two from writing 10 books in 5 years: writing is rewriting (and one space, not two!).
3) The End is Only the Beginning
A writer is someone who writes, but an author is someone who finishes writing a book. No matter what, I advise all aspiring authors to get to the finish line, to complete their work, to assuredly type ‘The End’.
It may seem funny, but when I wrote my first book, I did not think about its possible impact. I simply wanted to check off the goal of becoming an author. I have now sold books all over the world, from Serbia to Columbia to the Philippines. And I have received thank you messages from such exotic places as Mauritius and the Democratic Republic of Congo. People have written book reviews saying that my books have helped reluctant toddlers to toilet train, that they have formed book clubs to rediscover their sparkle together and that they have finally found their life purpose.
And remember, even if you never show your work to another soul, please type ‘The End.’ Don’t let a fear-based procrastination or perfectionism allow you to abandon your work. You can then celebrate checking off a major goal, feel a huge sense of accomplishment and be proud of the fact that you have completed a difficult challenge. Who knows where this sensation of victory could lead?
Major lesson number three from writing 10 books in 5 years: the end really is only the beginning.
My hope is that these three major lessons from writing 10 books in 5 years inspires you to achieve your creative goals. Always remember, creativity is a rollercoaster, writing is rewriting and the end is only the beginning.
There is nothing particularly special about me. I simply tap on my keyboard, finish what I start and have the courage to publish. If I can do it, you can too. I know every single one of you who is reading this has at least one book inside of you.
Just know that unleashing that creative genie may end up taking you on an adventure of a lifetime.