AHA · Authors Helping Authors · Inspiration

“The First Book Is the Hardest” by Lori Stephens

First Book Awards BadgeIt’s a well-worn phrase, so often heard that it is cliché: “You should write a book.” Have you? Is writing and publishing a book on your “Things to Do Before I Die” list? For some people, the first book–whether fiction or nonfiction–is a ghastly beast, a monster that rages to be born but gets stuck. I’ve talked with writers who compiled notes into binders for years, rehashing and reconstructing the outline or plot ad infinitum. Weeks, then months, then years go by, and still no book.

In the meantime, the writer grew older, traveled new vistas, and started to think, “Wait, now I know what I need to write about!”

Back to the keyboard.

My first book started out as a short story but morphed into a creature of 70,000 words. The day that I typed the last sentence, I had to pinch myself–I did it! I wrote a book! The demon of “then again” slithered into the room. I rewrote the story, from beginning to end, three times. It was agonizing, but in the end, it was worth it.

I often compare the process of writing a book to having a child (even though I haven’t done the latter). The first one is scary, perhaps even terrifying, and can be hard as hell. The second one is easier, and the third? Piece of cake. Is it the organizing, researching, or actual writing that is easier? Not entirely. Most of all, it’s the knowledge that if you did it once, you can do it again.

I look at my first book as a practice piece, the endeavor that turned “aspiring writer” into “published writer.” There have been times when I go back to the writing and groan. I thought that was ingenious?? Even so, the writing mattered. It was a milestone that prompted the courage to do it again.

So where is your first book? Curled up in the nursery, embryonic, or still the glint in your avatar’s eye?

~~~~~~~~~~~Lori Stephens, pNLP, CCP has mastered an approach to developing book manuscripts that blends high organization, clarity, and intuition. Her skills have been honed through experience with clients ranging from indie authors to Fortune 500 corporations. Her forte is working as the writer’s coach and “inspirarian,” and she says, “I take the time to understand the tone and message of your writing as well as its marketing strategies–in this way, I align precision with purpose.” She is the owner of Verbatim Editorial and has published four books.  Lori recently joined the freelance team at www.theprobookeditor.com.

2 thoughts on ““The First Book Is the Hardest” by Lori Stephens

  1. Well said, Lori. My book writing journey has been similar — after my short story placed among the top three at a contest I turned it into a 50K novel. But having done it, I’d say it doesn’t get any easier (or, maybe it’s just me!). My second novel is giving me oh so much grief! LOL.


  2. Thanks for your reply. For me, the second book was actually easier, and I’m now working on the third, but each book certainly has its challenges! Good luck with your writing. 🙂


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