The Thousand Mile Journey

There's a very familiar lament you hear as a writer, and it goes like this - 

"Oh, I'd love to write a book. I've always wanted to. But I just don't have the time." 

It's a fair point in one way. Yes, a novel is a lot of work, even if it's a labour of love for most of us. And it does take time. 

But! Try some lateral thinking and instead see it this way - 

Towards the end of last year, I was doing a book talk to a group of writers in Hampshire. Afterwards, one lady, who had a very demanding full time job shared that old and oft-told refrain with me. "Oh, I'd love to write a book..." etc. 

And an answer came to me that I rather liked (maybe it was the complimentary beer) - 

Every year, you get to Christmas, and look back and reflect on how fast the year went... and then you resolve - "Well, next year, I will get around to writing that book."

So take the 100,000 words of that novel of yours, and stop looking at it as a thousand mile journey. Instead, imagine writing 300 words a day. That's not a lot, is it? 

Keep that up, and by the time a year has passed... bingo! You've finished your novel. 

I got a message from the lady in question last week. It thanked me for my tip, which was kind, but best of all... 

She's now a third of the way through her book, and on course to finish it by summer. 

(I do love moments like that!) 

You know how often I like to quote great philosophy in these blogs. Ok, not at all, never, it's hardly my thing.

But on this one occasion, I'll leave you with a great guide for aspiring writers in the form of some wonderful words from Lao Tzu - 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".