The one thing you need to write a book.
“Oh, it’s the hardest part,” I texted back to her. “It will never not be the hardest part.”
She and I are started texting back and forth this morning about writing— writing a book. She’s in the process right now. Or, as I would rather call it, the trenches. Anyone who has written a book before knows it isn’t a slice of cake. It tests you. The process refines you. It brings old wounds to the surface and it makes you face the tough question: have I dealt with this?
Writing books is one of the most sacred parts of my work. It’s my favorite part because I love any kind of process which will show me what I made of. And that’s what book writing will do for you if you choose to take the road all the way to the end of it. It will change you. It will make you braver. It will stress you out and make you beat your head against the table. It will purge your heart and make you sleepless. It will sculpt you and chisel away at you. It won’t be romantic but it will be worth it.
Back to that text conversation I was having this morning…
She was debating over whether or not to purchase a writing software. Her teacher suggested it when she said she didn’t feel organized enough to complete the book-writing process in the next 6 months. I look up the software. It’s $40. There are more expensive products out there so you could maybe call this one a “steal.”
But she doesn’t need it. I tell her she doesn’t need it. She needs one thing to really sit down and write the book.
The same goes for me and you. There’s only one thing you need.
That’s really it.
And what should you do with that chair? Well, you should sit in it. As often as you can. In the morning and the evening. When you get quiet spaces in the day or when you could be off scrolling on Instagram. You should sit there— willingly— until the words come.
They’ll come. They won’t come without pain or worry. Distraction and frustration. But they will show up and they won’t show up any easier if you buy some fancy software.
And make no mistake— they won’t show up without a fight. You can imagine your words having a proper temper tantrum right now. Kicking and screaming as you cross your arms and say, “Are you finished yet?”
The words will be stubborn to come and sitting down in the chair, morning after morning, will never not be the hardest part of the job.
It’s okay if you feel a little discouraged. It’s okay if you think to yourself, “Gosh, I’ve spent all sorts of money on contraptions I thought would make me write better.” We’ve all been there. We’ve all wanted to believe the answer to succeeding is in something outside of ourselves. But you already possess the thing you need. It’s there in the pit of you. Waiting on you.
The book won’t work unless you do. It won’t come out of you while you’re watching Netflix or grabbing drinks. It won’t come out of you while you’re grocery shopping or doing basically anything you can to avoid sitting in the chair.
Sit down. Open up a word document or to a fresh piece of paper. Say a quick prayer. And begin.
And when the words stall in their arrival, wait on them. Wait on them the way you’d wait on a friend who keeps sending texts to apologize. “10 minutes behind.” “Half hour behind.” You’ll wait on laundry, food, coffee, TV shows, and texts on any given day— wait on the words.
Yes, this is a tough love siren going off like mad. Yes, I’d prefer to be less blunt and tell you a coddled version of this story but there’s no way around the truth. The truth is you are going to have dig deep every single day to get that book out of you. You are going to have to fight. You are going to have to wait on the words and sit in that chair until your bottom is sore.
But the truth is you’re going to get stronger with each bundle of words. You are going to step closer to who you said you wanted to be, doing what you said you wanted to do.
Scrap the excuses. Clear the clutter. Grab the chair. Sit. And wait.