The Book I Wrote in Two Months (and Why You’ll Never Read It)
In 2019, I created a collection of short stories. I planned them in October, and wrote them in November for NaNoWriMo. When December arrived, I had 50,601 words to show for my efforts. And by Christmas, the book existed physically. I was very pleased with the result, and I still am. But despite this, you’ll never read it.
I decided to write this post to highlight an essential question for every writer: what do you expect to get out of the process? Are you hoping to become a successful author and write the next bestseller? Or is your goal as “simple” as wanting the satisfaction of having written something? Maybe it’s somewhere in between.
None of those options are incorrect, but it’s good to have at least a vague idea of which one you’re veering towards. Your choices will likely influence how much time and money you’re willing (or able) to spend. Interventions cost me a grand total of £30.38, which is what I paid Lulu.com to print and send me three copies.
Why three? Because that was the number I needed to achieve everything I set out to do. I wanted one for myself, because it’s nice to see your name on your bookshelf. The other two went to my parents as Christmas presents. I can hardly ever think of anything to get them, and they always praise my writing, regardless of quality.
The book triumphed in every way it was supposed to. I got an easy ego boost due to nice words from my family, and my parents got something thoughtful for Christmas. I also had a lot of fun writing the short stories. So if I’m proud of it, why won’t I let you read it?
Because it is, quite frankly, a terrible book.
It hasn’t been edited or proofread, not even by me. Every story needs major revisions, and some could do with scrapping completely. There’s a framing narrative that’s dull and unsatisfying. Plot holes fill most of the pages. Basically, it shares issues that are seen in most first drafts, particularly those written in a short space of time.
But once again, it fulfilled its purposes. My parents read it with rose tinted glasses, so they didn’t care about the problems. I learned a huge amount about the writing process, and, also, just how difficult it is to format a book for printing (especially when you do it on a single night in November while drinking several cans of low-carbohydrate beer).
The whole project took two months. I felt like having a short burst of creativity, and I got that. It was an exercise in discipline, and completing something in a set timeframe.
If I had intended to write Interventions for a wider audience, I would have done it very differently. For a start, I would have struggled to create a successful book for £30.38, especially if I wanted to publish it myself. I would have thought about what I’d need to spend for decent editing and proofreading, as well as cover design, formatting, marketing and printing (and/or e-book creation). None of that was in my available budget at the time. But thankfully, for Interventions, it didn’t have to be.
If you’re an independent author, you get to choose which services you use to help get your work into the world. If you intend to write the best book ever created, you’ll probably need a team of professionals (including a very good publicist! What makes a book worthy of being the best ever is just a little bit subjective…). But if you’re just starting out, all you need is the will to keep getting the words down.
Do you have a firm plan for your writing? Are you unsure about the benefits of professional editing if you’re intending to sell the fruits of your imagination? Let me know in the comments or contact me! Regardless of which creative path you choose, I wish you all the best for achieving what you hope to.
At the very least, I’m sure you’ll write something better than Interventions. 🙂