Micael Widell

Struggles of an aspiring author: Getting it right from the start

/ writing

Something I have struggled with before starting the actual writing of my book, is having a good enough book idea. In order to create a book that really interests people and catches their attention you need to have a kickass hook – a book idea that a reader is curious about. An example of a kickass hook is superstar non-fiction writer Malcolm Gladwell's book David and Goliath; the hook is basically "why can sometimes what looks like a weakness be the greatest advantage?"

My fear has been that if I start writing with my basic book idea, and if it isn't good enough, I'd have to rewrite tens of thousands of words later to morph it into something good enough – a seemingly impossible task. This fear acts as fuel, and an excuse for, procrastination.

I have found that it is very easy to get stuck at this idea phase. Funny thing is that I was stuck at exactly the idea phase before starting my last major project – a startup. I was stuck trying to find the perfect business idea, rejecting lots and lots of ideas because I always found some flaw in every idea. In the end, after rejecting ideas for two goddamn years (what stupendous stupidity) I caved in; I just went with a business idea that I didn't particularly like, but which came with great co-founders. The idea, as we started building it, went on to become Fyndiq – a company with 130 employees and 1.2 million paying customers today.

So today I have decided to apply the same approach in my book project. I just said "fuck it, my idea is good enough" and started writing.

A great thing about not starting with trying to find a killer title and hook (besides that fact that you will actually get started) is this: The title and hook will not have the power to dictate what you write.

If you start with the title and hook, you will end up trying to bend each chapter into conforming with the idea, even if you find that your idea is not only not consistently true, but even wrong at times. This would produce a shitty book. I've read a lot of these, and I do not want to bring another one into this world.

Better then to write from the heart, write what you find true, write the way only you can write. Then at the end look at what you have and try to find the hook in there somewhere. If what you have written is worth anything, the hook will hopefully be in there. That is the mindset I'm going with at the moment.

Thanks leiris202 for the header photo, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

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