The Cold Truth About Writing a Book

This is the first lesson in our three-part series on how to finish writing a book. Watch the presentation or read the transcript below. Thank you!

I don't know about you, but I'm a little tired of talking about writing a book.

Most people say things like, “I want to write a book,” or even, “I'm working on a book.” But how many of them actually write one?

Honestly, though, I'm the same way. I've written six books, but each time I write one, I'm afraid I'm never going to finish. And that doesn't include the many books I've tried to write and failed.

Yes, you can write a book. But you might be worried you will never actually do it.

And if you're not worried, maybe you should be because writing a book is really hard.

The Cold Truth About Writing a Book

My name is Joe Bunting, and I run an organization called The Write Practice. Over the last few years, my team and I have helped millions of people become better writers and write things that fill their lives with meaning.

I teach writing out of my own experience as an author and ghostwriter of six books, hundreds of blog posts, and dozens of newspaper and magazine articles.

I want to make it clear that I'm not special, though. I struggle with the same things you do. Things like:

  • Not enough time (I have two sons, a three-year-old and a six-month-old)
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of enthusiasm for writing, especially when the writing gets tough
  • Writer's block
  • Great ideas but poor execution

The cold truth is writing a book doesn't take talent. I know a lot of bad writers who have written books.

Writing a book doesn't take passion. I know a lot of people who don't really like writing who are published authors.

Writing a book doesn't even take a lot of time. Yes, you can take seven years to write a book, but I know a lot of people who've written books in a few weeks.

The cold truth is that what writing a book does take is ruthless focus.

Deciding to write a book isn't enough. You have to say no to everything else and actually do it.

The cold truth about writing a book is that it doesn't take talent, passion, or even a lot of time (although those can help). It takes ruthless focus.

Are You Ready to Commit?

I want to encourage you to ruthlessly focus on writing your book. Because if you don’t focus, you will almost certainly get distracted by something easier and more instantly gratifying.

Think about it. If you pray, pray about it. If you need to talk to your family, talk to them.

What you shouldn’t do is talk about it without committing to follow through.

This isn’t a decision to make lightly. It will affect more people than just you.

If after considering it carefully, you don’t feel like you’re supposed to write a book (or at least not write a book now), that’s totally fine.

If you do commit, though, know that this is going to be one of the hardest (and most productive) seasons of your life.

Your Assignment

If you feel like you’re supposed to write a book, begin by writing out your ideas. All of them.

This is your chance to clear your mind and free write all the ideas you have about writing a book. Don't hold back, just write down every idea you've ever had.

Don't have an idea, or even the beginning of an idea? Check out our free download, 10 Questions to a Better Book Idea, to get one started.

To complete your assignment: free write about your book idea(s) for fifteen minutes.  When your time is up, post your idea(s) in the comments section of this article.

If you share, please give feedback and encouragement to at least three other people.

Stay tuned later this week for the next lesson!