I am a believer in the saying “everyone has a book inside of them.” We all have a fascinating story to tell about our unique experiences. Stories which I am certain will enrich the world around us. However, having the potential to write a book within you does not easily translate into reality. It is difficult to know where to begin and harder still, to have the persistence to finish writing a book. In this three part series I will share a few tips, drawing from my experience as an author of three books, to help other aspiring authors to get their first book out. I gladly share these lessons I have learned out of my passion for writing and storytelling.
In part one I am focusing on the challenge of where to begin. For me there is one fundamental question that you are immediately confronted with when you decide to write a book. What to write about? There is alas no easy answer to this age old question. Finding a topic to write about is an integral, sometimes overlooked, part of the writing process. Once you know what to write about this is already half the battle won.
“We all have something that ignites the fire within us which could be the fodder for an interesting book.”
My advice when choosing a topic to write about is to follow your heart. Find a topic which you are passionate about – be it cooking, goblins, video games or basket weaving. We all have something that ignites the fire within us which could be fodder for an interesting book. In my case I was triggered by my love of squash and a near fatal car accident to write my first book Squash Diary: The Story of How Squash Saved My Life.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the word ‘book’ is a very loose term encompassing all sorts of different forms of writing – from cookbooks to photographic books, to poetry and short story anthologies, as well as novels, e-books and audiobooks. In short writing a book need not be a huge, intimidating mountain to climb in your head. I can relate to this personally in my own writing journey with the publication of Fresh Ereba: A Collection of Caribbean Bedtime Stories for Children. When I first wrote this anthology, I irrationally felt that it was too short to be published as a “real” book. So I released Fresh Ereba only as an e-book back in 2012. I took me a further eight years to dust it off, and publish a second edition of Fresh Ereba in paperback format.
I also, often gain inspiration for my books from my travels around the world. Creative ideas sometimes are germinated when you experience new cultures, cuisines and landscapes which stimulate you in unexpected ways. I for one have felt this surge of creative energy whenever I have visited places with beautiful nature, like Iceland, South Africa and Japan, or even in urban oases where you can feel a creative effervescence oozing out, such as in Berlin and Vienna.
It has been said that creativity is a manifestation of the universal collective consciousness of humanity. As authors, we tap into this source when we write. We are merely outlets for the diffusion of the infinite source of wisdom that resides within us all. I wish you the best of luck with the start of your first book!