When you hear that someone is writing a book, do you imagine that they're spending hours and hours every day in front of their computer typing away? Do you also imagine that budding author is confident in every word they put on the page?
Do you worry you'll never be able to commit that much time or find that much confidence?
Don't! You don't have to - real writers don't work that way.
Western culture seems to like the idea that all authors spend hours and hours alone with their thoughts and their words - somehow instinctively knowing how to write their books.
I discuss this in chapter 7 in my book - There's a Book in Every Expert (that's you!). The idea that writing should come "naturally" or not at all has silenced countless authors.
This myth divides the world into authors and not-authors because it presumes some people are just born knowing how to write.
This simply isn't true - writers do not spring fully formed into being like Athena did from Zeus's head!
Today, we're going to work on letting go of that myth.
What are we getting out of the myth?
Before we can let go of the myth, we need to understand why we're so intent on hanging on to it. What are we getting out of it?
By hanging on to the idea that authors have more time, focus, commitment, creativity, and confidence than the rest of us (not-authors), we let ourselves off the hook. The myth that authors just know how to write and do it quickly, easily, and "naturally" assures the rest of us that we don't have to try because we weren't born knowing all the things authors apparently know.
In short, we maintain this myth because we're afraid of failure - if we don't try, we can't fail.
Authors are made, not born
When we find the courage to let go of the myth, it's clear that authors are made, not born.
Did you notice that I used scare quotes around the word naturally above? I did that because there's no such thing as a natural writer. Experienced writers write "naturally" because they have years of training and practice, not because they were born with a special power that not-authors are missing.
On some level, you know this is true. If you don't remember learning to form letters (the first time you learned to write), you've probably seen a child in your life go through the process. Have you ever come across a 4- or 5-year-old who could form all the letters without being shown how?
Now think about all the steps that go into 'learning to form letters' - first the child has to learn the alphabet - this usually involves years (or at least several months) of singing the ABCs (often incorrectly) before they connect those sounds to letters in a book or on their toys (alphabet blocks, etc.). Children also need months or years to learn to hold a writing implement and then to learn to guide it to form recognisable shapes.
I could go on, but you get the idea - you'd never get frustrated with a 5-year-old for not being a "natural" writer, so why do you get frustrated with your grown-up self for not just knowing how to write your book?
You can learn the craft of writing and it doesn't take nearly as long as people imagine. If you want to write your expert book (you know, the one about how you help your clients), you're ready to do it! Stick around, and over the next few posts I'll show you exactly how long it takes!
If you're ready to let go of the myth that you can't write your book because you weren't born knowing how, join me for my Think Like an Author workshop.
In this 90-minute workshop, I'll help you find the confidence, commitment, and skills (or support) you need to write your book. Click the button below to learn more and sign up!
If you're worried you don't know enough to qualify as an expert, have a look at this post, 'Do you know enough to write a book?'