Most people don’t want to write—they want to have written.
That’s a wry writers’ saying, reflecting the fact that the average person who declares “I want to write a book” really means “I want to be a world-famous bestselling author who rakes in the millions and is universally worshiped.”
However—the book-worthy person is not the average person.
To be book-worthy, the following five statements must be true of you.
(1) You have a book inside you. A book that NEEDS to be written.
Your book has commandeered your consciousness. It’s part of you. It’s physical. Visceral. It is your phantom limb. It has suctioned itself to the front and the back of your brain. It has sunk its teeth into your leg and won’t let go.
I’m not saying your book must be a world-changing work of staggering length. I’m not even saying it has to be hard or time-consuming to write. I’m just saying it will dog you relentlessly until you stop and listen and bring it to life.
(2) You can articulate and explain the passion that’s driving you to write this book.
You know your book intimately and you passionately love talking about it. No question is too casual or too far-ranging for you to answer. You’ve got notes in your head and on your phone and on scraps of paper and when someone asks, “What are you writing your book about?” you have your elevator speech and your Pulitzer speech on the tip of your tongue. Whether you’re on stage, conversing at a cocktail party, talking to your mother, or just talking to yourself—you can pinpoint and elaborate on the theme of your book, the takeaways for readers, the vision and inspiration you want to share, and the dream you want readers to know is possible. You ooze fervor, and you put those oozings into words.
(3) You have a clear reason why you’re writing this NOW.
No vague mission statements for you. No namby-pamby “I’ve got this great idea” or “People always tell me I should write a book.” You have a calling you must answer NOW, a purpose you need to fulfill NOW. NOW is the time and nothing can stop you.
Again, this doesn’t imply that your book must be serious or weighty—only that it’s urgent, that doing it now is crucial, and you know exactly why.
(4) You have a vision for your book and the way it will impact readers.
Your vision may be for a niche audience, for the world, or simply for yourself. Maybe it’s to entertain or encourage readers. To urge people to take a certain action. Maybe it’s to make a lasting difference to your loved ones, or author the way you want the world to remember you. Maybe it’s a memoir that will inspire and help others…or a memoir that’s for you and you alone, to affirm that your life matters.
Your vision is your inner “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s an incentive that keeps you moving, and a Polaris that keeps you on track to the finish line.
(5) You’re committed to a firm schedule and deadline for when the writing process needs to begin and end.
This is where your rubber meets your road: the unglamorous grassroots drudgery of actually doing the work.
You love the work. You hate the work. The work feeds your soul. The work sucks you dry. Like Hemingway, you sit at the typewriter and bleed. And It Feels. So. Good.
What’s the verdict—are you book-worthy?
You are? Great! Now get busy: write your book.
If you need help with the writing, contact a professional ghostwriter like me.
If you don’t have enough money to hire a pro, contact your local university’s graduate program in writing or journalism. They may be able to pair you with a grad student who can help.
Faulkner said, “If a story is in you, it has to come out.” If you’re book-worthy, you not only know that, you’re living it.
Solidarity, my book-worthy compatriot. And here’s to your success.