Now and then I encounter someone to whom I disclose that I’ve written two books and have two more in the works. They often look at me with a combination of appreciation and embarrassment. When I ask for an explanation of the expression, I am usually told something similar to, “I could never do that.”
As a writer and educator, my response is almost always the same: You could if you want to badly enough. As you might expect, the excuses are plentiful. I don’t have the time, patience or clarity to assemble a book. No-one would read it. I don’t know if what I have to say is important enough to create a book.
There is absolutely no magic associated with becoming an author, provided that your expectations are reasonable. At no time did I ever expect to find my work on the New York Times bestseller list, nor did I anticipate becoming wealthy from my books. If those are your plans, you need either to have a powerful story to tell or the ability to handle disappointment.
What you can’t predict prior to the actual publication of a book is the sense of satisfaction to be gained from the process. A member of my family who was a World War II hero and successful businessman decided that he and the world would benefit from the telling of his life’s story. He followed it up with additional thoughts that he accumulated after the publication of the first.
The book was filled with spelling and grammatical errors. While I wasn’t trying to find them, my training as an editor made it difficult not to notice. But the very important point is that he proceeded with the telling of his tale and I salute him for having done so.
If you read this and entertain ideas of writing something, I can’t recommend strongly enough that you do it. Do it for the satisfaction to be gained. Do it for the sake of imparting something to someone or many others. Because all of our life experiences are unique, all of our stories are specific and valuable. If your writing journey is anything like mine, you will soon find that there is a vast quantity of learning to be done through the process of writing, by you and your readers. And in the words of my very wise son who coaches me for any 5k races that I undertake, it’s simply a matter of one foot in front of the other. Shalom.