It’s funny how people talk to you once you have a book published. Since the launch of Surviving Singledom I’ve had people approach and tell me of the book they want to write, asking for my advice.
Suddenly I’m a mentor to a whole bunch of aspiring writers, even though I feel I’ve just begun my own writing journey. It’s an interesting position into which I am being invited. Of course, I love encouraging other writers and I want to give them a helping hand if I can.
One thing I tell budding writers is something I have recently discovered myself: writing a book is a deceptively larger effort than what it appears at the outset. I don’t mean that the book ends up looking huge. I mean that it takes more than a writer to write a book.
Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? But bear with me. When we think of a writer, or even a book, we often imagine some solitary figure huddled over the dim light of a laptop screen, surrounded by papers and scribbled notes, typing maniacally into the night. We think of them as being an introvert, shut off from the outside world, alone with their thoughts and plots and characters.
I thought that’s what a writer was. Until I finished writing Surviving Singledom. That’s when I realised that, in order for me to transport my book from manuscript to publication, I was going to need the help of others. All of my solo work had produced an unpublished text, completed but unable to be shared with the wider public. I was going to need practical assistance with the rest.
I attended a writer’s conference prior to my book launch. Beyond the benefits of networking at this conference, I made some truly special connections and felt encouraged by the wider writing community. I understood how vital it was to have support from other writers in what can otherwise be a rather lonely and isolated vocation.
The nearer I came to publishing and launching my book, the more profound my awareness that I knew nothing about a whole lot of writer’s tasks that had nothing to do with writing. I badly needed help with the design and layout of the book, let alone contacts in the printing world. And by the way, just how does an introverted writer go about marketing their product?
I have had to learn many new skills on the fly since publishing Surviving Singledom. I never knew that writing a book would involve becoming expert at so many other jobs, including technology, event management, volunteer recruitment, web design and public speaking!
As I look back over the years of writing, I can see how the comments people have made about my book-in-progress have helped to shape the book itself. In discussing my ideas with family, friends, co-workers and single folk, their reactions and stories had opened my mind to alternate views on the subject of singleness. I have needed the input of others in order to complete my book.
That is precisely why it takes a village to write a book. The “writing” is not just about typing a flurry of words; it is about sharing that journey with others and enjoying the mutual blessings that such relationships bring. Writers, you are not alone. Welcome others who join you on your journey.