A couple of weeks ago, I attended a MeetUp.com function. You know what that is? You should, it’s pretty cool. It’s an online network that helps people plan off-line functions. You know, so you get out of the house. I attended one for people who were interested in self-publishing a book.
After the meeting, I sensed someone milling around behind me. I decide to make it easy. I turned to this lady and said hi. She went on to tell me that it was interesting to hear me talk about my journey as a self-publishing author. I follow that up with a bit more information about my experience. This person then said she hoped to write a book one day too.
I hate when people say this.
You know why? It’s weak. What do you mean you hope to write a book one day? Are those not two fucking arms I see on each side of your body with two capable hands at either end? Did you not study reading comprehension and writing in grade school? These people act as if they have no control over what they do in life. You have all the control. Just do it. Go write something. Who cares if it’s terrible? At least you did it. Do it more. You’ll get better.
Whoa, calm down Ty. Nope. In the last two years, I’ve heard so many people tell me why they can’t write a book. I’m sick of hearing the million and one excuses on why they can’t. I mean, if these people are so sure that they can’t, why the fuck are they telling me they want to write in the first place? What do they hope to come of it? Was I to reach into my pocket and sprinkle magic author dust on them? I think that’s what people want. It’s true. Whenever I play along and smile and say, “Of course you can, you just need to sit down and write.” They come back with an excuse. I’ll go on to say, “No really, you can.” Before I can even get that out of my mouth, they’re spitting out another excuse. Same story each time.
So getting back to the lady at the coffee shop. I stupidly decide to play along. I giggle and say, “Aw, come on, who are you kidding, you can do it. It’ll be fun.” She tells me she has an idea for a book. I say, “Great, you have options for publishing, so get to writing. There’s money to be made if you work hard.”
Then she drops it — the bullshit answer. “Oh, I don’t care if anyone reads my book, I’m not interested in making any money from it.” Oh really? That a fact, huh? Then why go through all the trouble of writing a book and publishing it if you don’t really care if someone reads or buys it? Keep a fricken diary. It’s easier.
It’s a bullshit answer because this person wants to write something that people will like. This person wants to make money off of something they wrote but they’re too afraid to put themselves out there. Too afraid to hear what other people will say or think. Too afraid of being judged for their ability or possibly lack of. Total bullshit. I say grow a pair. Why give a shit about what anybody says? Don’t give others the power to cripple you before you even start. Go write something then listen to people tell you it sucks. At least you wrote something, which is more than all those critics will have done.
So this lady, nice person by the way, is now a little taken back my bluntness. If you know me personally, you know what I’m talking about. No filter. But just to be clear, I did tell it to her differently. I’m telling it to you here differently because the drama makes it more interesting.
This is what I told the lady. “You mean to tell me that if you sold 50,000 copies of your book and everyday thousands of people emailed you begging you to write another book you would say, ‘No, I will not, because I don’t care if anyone reads my stuff. In fact, I just write for myself. But I am putting it out there in the form of a book just in case someone does like it but with the premise that I don’t care in case no one likes it. When in reality, I should just write in a diary, lock it up and hide it under my bed if I really were just writing for myself and myself only. Tee hee.’”
So of course this lady gushes and says, “Oh sure, I would gladly write more books if that were the case.” So why not admit it from the get go? You would love to write books and make money from it. What is so wrong with saying that? Sure people will judge. That’s what people do. But at least give them something to judge you for.
Here’s one last thing I’ll leave you with. If you write something and someone doesn’t like your stuff, you still come out on top. Why? Look at it this way. If you were standing next to two people and one of them was ripping on the other persons hard work, tell me, who’s the asshole?