Lillian, the girl the book is about, and I Skyped – okay we used ‘Facebook call’ because Skype is really old-fashioned – for the first time a few weeks ago. (Read the previous blog if you have no clue what I’m talking about.)
It went well and then I had to think of what comes next. I noticed that writing a book is a slow process and very different from writing a column or article. It’s hard when you have an impatient nature and would like to finish things yesterday.
A few years ago I had a coach at work. I told him about myself and I shared, amongst other things, that I like to do things as fast as possible. He nodded and asked me to stand up. He then asked me to run to the other side of the room while he was holding me. The resistance was high and it was not easy at all (and a bit awkward) to run with someone attached to you. He asked me what would happen if I would do it again, but slower? Well, I would arrive later, of course! I replied. We tried it and I arrived at the other side of the room faster than at full speed. I guess it’s a balancing act of making progress and giving room for things to ripen. It popped into my head while I was planning and talking and researching and quickly! starting. I paced myself and wrote down what I was doing and why.
1. Collecting information takes time
If you’re writing a book, you need to do research, read other books (in my case autobiographies), do interviews etc. I’m writing about a young Chinese lady and I need a lot of input from her, but also from her parents and possibly other people. It gives me a feel for who Lillian is. I also need to know things about her past. She of course won’t remember because she was too young. Gathering all this information doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.
Okay, it’s even worse. Some of the ‘very interesting information’ you will write down now will be deleted at a later stage. You have to tell yourself not to worry about that now though.
2. Don’t Rush
If you start rushing, you will never manage to write a story that’s whole. Every story needs a beginning, a middle part, an end and a plot of some kind. A princess doesn’t immediately meet her prince, if anything it would be a rather boring story. Rushing makes you forget things; you forget to listen properly and you might make assumptions. If you start doing that, it’s all about you and you’re not writing a book about yourself. Period. Don’t rush.
3. Have a little faith
The longer it takes, the more time you have to start doubting yourself. Are the things you’re doing the right things? There already are so many good books, mine won’t be of any added value! What if it doesn’t work, what if the pieces of the puzzle won’t fall into place? Yes, this could happen, or not. Writing a book is a brilliant way to test yourself. You have to start with the first conversation and the first chapter and have a little faith that slowly but surely the story will unfold.
Have a little faith and prepare. Prepare? Prepare what?!
I will share how I do that next time!