Take It Easy On Yourself

By writing a book, you’re tackling a challenge that many people talk about but never get around to doing.

Some of them buy the equipment and do the training—books on writing and attending courses—but you’re actually climbing the mountain of creating a story. There are a thousand ways to reach the peak, and nothing to prevent you backtracking to try a different route. To get to the top, you’ll need determination and self-belief to the point of arrogance; the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up. If you do that, you’ll stop climbing, crawl into a crevasse and freeze to death.

Our greatest weakness is in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always try one more time.

Thomas A. Edison

It could be that no one much will care that you make a successful ascent—that’s what literary agents are for, to bring you down to earth—but, you’ll know you did it and that’s what’s crucial. You’ll feel better for it:

“We write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely…When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my colour. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.”

Anaïs Nin

So, enjoy what you’re doing. Writing will always be hard work, but it shouldn’t be excruciating. You need to get on your own side.

When your book is written, you’re marked out as different—to be admired and, of course, criticised. But, you did it. Don’t be denied!

Benjamin Jowett

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