The title may seem like odd advice since this is a blog for writers.
Isn’t the first step of being a writer to … you know… write?
That may be true, but there are several good reasons not to start off your career as a writer by writing a book.
I just read a great article by Medium author Akshay Gajria called, “Please Do NOT Write a Book.” I highly recommend it.
The point Akshay makes is that a large number people have dreams of writing a book. And many of these people often have unrealistic expectations.
While there are all sorts of workshops and books out there training people how to write “12k” words a day, Akshay reminds his readers that much much more goes into a book than simply getting words down. There’s also editing and research.
While it may take 6 months to simply write a first draft, polishing that first draft into a quality product can take years. For me, it takes 2-3 years on average to write and finish a book. And that includes working on said book about 5 days a week.
Writing a book is not a mere passion project. It’s a major commitment. And it’s something that takes skill. One must know how to structure a story, create compelling characters, have a logical plot, good pacing and quality description.
A great point that Akshay made is that one should build their skill by writing short stories first. Short stories require a much smaller time commitment. They are also much easier to get published than novels. A publisher takes a smaller financial risk on a short story than a novel.
Many of the most famous authors today got their start with short stories, including Stephen King and George R.R. Martin.
Short stories are also a good way to build your portfolio, get your name out there and build an audience before you make the major commitment to write a book.
If you enjoyed this advice, please read Akshay Gajria’s article, “Please Do Not Write a Book.”