You, too, can write a book in only a few short decades! Here’s how!
It’s pretty simple, really. All you need to do is:
1. Come up with a great idea. Say to yourself “That would make a great book!”. Start to write it down. Talk to other people about it. Bask in their encouragement.
2. After three or four false starts — each of which fail only fifty or sixty pages in — realize that you have no idea what you’re doing. Silently damn yourself for ever thinking that you could write a book. Decide to do something else with your life.
3. Spend the following 10 years or so in an unrelated career field. Encounter frustrations, limitations, stultifying boredom, and a sense of being out-of-place. But enjoy the fleeting sense of self-importance, the expensive vacations, and the real estate. Keep telling yourself you are successful. Congratulate yourself on how much of a participant you are in society. At night, read a lot. Think to yourself that you really should have written that book. Or something.
4. As a relationship is failing–and while in a deep depression–try writing the book again. Fail again when things get too real and too painful.
5. Start another relationship. Have a kid. Keep telling yourself things will get better. Start to wonder that the hell is wrong with you and/or the world. As you get a bit older, realize that it’s probably just you. The world does what it does.
6. Lots of therapy. Lots of psych tests. Lots of talking to people who have also felt estranged from their own selves and recovered in one way or another. Or maybe they haven’t recovered yet. Talk to them anyway. Both are worth talking to. Both have part of the answer.
7. Have someone in authority tell you that things just aren’t working out at your job anymore. Be somewhat amazed that you feel a certain relief at this news.
8. In a moment in Nietzschean affirmation, say to yourself “Yes! Yes, this book will be written. Yes! Ja! Jawohl! ” Realize that over the last 20 years or so something’s been happening in your background: i.e. your background has been happening. Now–now you know what to do and what to say. Or so you think.
9. Drop everything else and ram-rod the first draft through in one month. Type until your fingers bleed. Keep coffee and martini fixings and whatever else you need close at hand. You’re going to need them.
10. Rewrite the whole book a few times over the year that follows. Hire an editor or two or three. Tune it here and there until the fateful moment when you force yourself to call it good and let your pearl of great price out into the world.
Voilá! A book in 25 years or less.
Oh, and realize the following:
“We have all at some time eaten the fruit from trees that we did not plant. In the fullness of time, when it is our turn to give, we must in turn plant gardens that we may never eat the fruit of, which will benefit the generations to come.” — N. R. Narayana Murthy