• Chris OBrien

Three stages of writing: I'm doing this for something else

The first book is usually about something else.


A chance to say, "See, I knew I could do it." Or proving someone wrong. Proving the English major was totally worth the investment.


Or maybe the goal is to become a bestseller. To see your book at the front of a bookstore. To receive strong reviews from the critics. To have someone say, "You're a great writer." Or, "This is one of the greatest books of all time."


In school, there was always a letter grade. Blogs have page views. Readership numbers. Likes. Clicks. Shares.


Your first book will have plenty of measuring sticks too. Traditional route: Did a literary agent or publisher say yes? Until they say yes, it's "not good enough." Self-published route: Well, how many sales? Downloads? What are the reviews on Amazon? If it doesn't hit X, it's "not good enough."


The first book is usually about something else. "I'll write the book, then this other thing will happen, and then I'll be happy/fulfilled/inspired to write the next one (which will do even better)."


The writing, in a sense, becomes the means to an end. The belief: that end, whatever it is, once I get there, that will make all of the time writing the story worth it.


... But what happens when you get there?


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