Notes on writing your first book #1

Sometimes i write myself into a corner and can’t seem to get out.
Sometimes there are holes in the text, and when i hold it up to the light it looks like it’s been attacked by moths.
Sometimes i write a whole page and every sentence is accompanied by the ‘who’s going to want to read this crap?’ song.
Sometimes I write something and i know it’s not the whole truth, i know i’m holding back for fear of being judged.
Sometimes I have to let that fear go and write what is really in my heart.
Sometimes I wish i could put the occasional emoticon in my sentences ;-)
Sometimes I wonder if it will be good enough for my editor.
Sometimes I wonder if it will be good enough for me.
Sometimes I get scared that people will laugh at me when they read my book, and not in a good way.
Sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of sharing some of the truths I’m sharing.
Sometimes I need to just open the document and keep writing.

26 responses
  1. Laura Evans

    stunning photograph & gorgeous post … i love your writing style. good luck with the book & have a wonderful week.

  2. Julie Daley

    ahhh. as i sit here writing my first book, these words help me to remember, once again, i’m not alone, i’m not special, i’m not doing it wrong…this is just how we humans do things…
    thank you, dear.

  3. Mel

    Sus, if your book is only half as good as your blog, only half as fabulous as you are, only half as rich and enriching than Unravelling then it is going to be so wonderful that I already now cannot wait to read it.

  4. Bridget

    As I write the Life-Shift series, I’m in the same space. It’s hard to hold that space for the book. Thank you for sharing the struggle and confusion. We all go through that, right?

  5. Akila

    I am on Chapter 10 of my first book . . . though mine is even scarier because it is a novel and, as of yet, I have no agent, publisher, or publishing date. Some days, I want to quit the whole thing and press delete. And, then, others, I remember that I love to do what it is I am doing and perhaps I might even be good at it. I hold on to those days like a child grasps at daffodil wisps in the wind.

    Thank you for this post.

  6. Christine (spiral bound)

    Sometimes I think I would already be successful (or at least published – or AT LEAST holding a first draft of my imaginary novel) if it weren’t for all of these “sometimes”s. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got an attention deficit problem because of how many first pages I have, and how few second pages. Sometimes though, it helps to hear that other people have similar hurdles and similar struggles. Thank you for letting us see yours. I’m so looking forward to seeing the finished book : )

  7. Christine

    and sometimes you have to let the gremlins out and then stomp on them so they can’t bother you any more!
    Keep up the good work – you know you can do this.

  8. ginny

    Hi susannah,
    i have co written two craft books so have shared some of your thoughts and fears. Although craft books are less personal, you still put your heart into it and they still hold fears of not being good enough. i was fortunate to have my best friend to hold my hand at all times as we journeyed together. putting yourself out there is scary but also holds such excitement and having the opportunity to share your ideas and passion with others is a real privaledge. i think that as long as you are true to you and do the best for you in the time and at the time then that is enough. i am a perfectionist so i would re write and fiddle to my hearts content if i was allowed but sometimes you have to let it go, muse on it, have your editor review it and then make any changes after you have had a little time to reflect. all you can do is follow your own truth and some will love it and some will not but those who matter will love it, as they love you.
    p.s. i know i shall love it!!

  9. ginny

    p.s. whoops big spelling mistakes, not so perfectionist after all am i?

  10. Charlane Killough Griffith

    i love that you put yourself out there with no holds barred. i think that is part of what attracted me to your writing after the initial love of your photography. i love that you keep it real. i love that you have fears and remind me that no matter how together people may appear, they are just like me in their fears, their hopes and their dreams. that makes you relatable and current.

  11. jane

    susannah you made me cry
    in hearing your heart and your tender places and in being vulnerable in this way you magically make the scary stuff less scary for me…
    i am not a writer but i am a woman of big and tender heart and deep dreams and action and courage are the two things that are making them come true…
    i am beaming you gratitude and committing to doing unravelling asap x

  12. sas

    it will be BRILLIANT!
    it already is.

  13. Roxanne/tinkerbell the bipolar faerie

    I have begun writing my first book. Just saying that makes me feel dumb, as in, who am I kidding? I can relate to this post.

  14. ~Kristina

    ever wonder about how many people are anxiously awaiting the release of your book because we feel like we’ve shared in this journey with you?

  15. rowena

    The last one. Mostly the last one.

  16. Dona Bumgarner

    I’ve never written for publication (other than on a blog), but I do participate in a writing group where we free-write and then read around the circle. We’re allowed to pass, but encouraged to read. Sometimes I can get myself past the fear (especially that feeling that I’m holding myself back) by just telling myself I don’t have to read this one. Invariably that’s when I write the best stuff. And I usually do read it, and the group is so responsive to truth.

    Writing is so hard. And so rewarding. I appreciate that you are sharing the process here with us.

  17. ginger

    well i have never laughed at anything you’ve written in a bad way. and i already want to read that crap! youcandooeeeetttttt!

  18. Kathryn

    I’m excited about your book, too, your posts often inspire me.
    feel the fear, it’s important, then let it go, even more important.

  19. Angela Vular

    Dear Susannah,
    I have loved your writing style for several years along with your beautiful photographs and I cannot wait to read your book. It will be wonderful. Your unravelling courses were the best gifts I have ever given myself. Keep writing that book….it’s going to be the best gift you give to yourself….and all of us!

  20. gis

    Keep on writing, it will be fabulous!

  21. Elle B

    Thank you for putting words to all my fears, Susannah. I’m going to print this and post it above my monitor so I read it the next time I consider quitting…

    I know your book will be as wonderful and inspiring as you are!

  22. erin

    You can do this! You really can.

  23. Sabrina

    I loved this post. Your honesty is refreshing. Thank you! I am a freelance writer and I had some very similar thoughts last week!! Sending you lots of energy and focus as you continue to write.

  24. Susan Bonaci

    I hear the ‘who’s going to want to read this crap’ song often and it makes me want to stop writing. And then I have an awesome writing day where words fall like rain and sprinkle my writing life with joy. And that’s why I keep on writing…

  25. Babu

    Sitting here,
    writing my first book.
    Taking photos of what I eat, what I see outside the window. Then keep going… and write again.
    Go on, sister in England!

    Babu from Germany

  26. Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud

    I loved this post because I’m in the process of writing a memoir. I’m constantly reminding myself to just keep. it. real. No holding back, no embellishing. The hardest part for me is the overlap of my story and someone else’s story, keeping it real but also keeping it respectful.

    Thank you for you relevant words!

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