I don't want to write a book

I'm a writer. I love to write. Writing is something I do well. It's something that has always been a part of me and will likely always be a part of me.

And yet, despite all that, I make this admission that many people will think is shocking coming from a writer: I don't want to write a book.

I was having a conversation via Facebook chat with my friend Tara (whose blog, Red & Company, you should read) yesterday. In the course of the conversation, I was (half-jokingly) lamenting the fact that although I'm a pretty strong writer, writing hasn't really gotten me anywhere, hasn't gotten me those things Indiana Jones was looking for that many of us also seek: fortune and glory.

Tara responded that if I was really looking for that, I'd be waiting a long time and said that even if I got a book deal, fortune and glory were not guaranteed. Oh how right she is.

But in her words was something else: the implication that all writers want to write a book. It's an assumption people have made about me/other journalists/writers of all sorts for years - the assumption that our goal is to write books. And I can safely say, though I am speaking only for myself here, that not ALL writers want to write books.

Don't get me wrong. I love books. I love reading books. I am grateful to authors for creating books for me to read. But I do not want to be one of them. I have ideas that I think could become great books, but I don't want to write them. Maybe someday I'll want to, but I doubt it.

Part of it is that I don't think I'm patient enough to write a book. I've never been one to do many drafts. When I was in high school and college, I would write one draft of my papers, read it, edit/tweak it and then turn it in. I would not do draft after draft. As a reporter, I got used to writing my story, turning it over to the editors and letting them take the reins from there. I like the immediacy. I like seeing things published/finished quickly so I can move on to the next thing.

That brings me to another reason I don't want to write a book. I get bored easily. Writing a book requires focus I don't think I have. Here's how I know. A few years ago, I attempted to take part in National Novel Writing Month, colloquially known as NaNoWriMo. The way it works is fairly simple: In November, each participant attempts to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. I started strong. I got up to 30,000 words. And one day, I just had nothing. I couldn't write anymore. So I decided I would take a day off from writing (I was ahead of schedule anyway) and get back to it the next day. The same thing happened the next day and the next and the next: I wound up staring at my computer for an hour before giving up.

And then it hit me: I didn't care anymore. I didn't care about the characters. I wasn't invested in the story anymore. I didn't care about the outcome. And most importantly, I didn't WANT to write it. So I deleted the story from my hard drive and my account from the NaNoWriMo website. I didn't consider it a failure of any sort. It was simply a learning experience.

The point of that tale is that the experience taught me I have no business writing novels and I should leave it to those with the patience and ability.

Will my lack of desire to write a novel last forever? Not a clue. Might I find some topic so enthralling that I simply MUST write a novel about it? Possibly. But I'd say it's unlikely at best.

The long and the short is that I'll stick to my ramblings on the Internet.

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