Something that happens when you start writing a book in earnest and telling people about it, is you start hearing about all of the books everyone else is also writing, or want to write, or have a life goal of writing. This seemed like an odd phenomenon at first, but the more it has happened the more I have welcomed it.
When you tell me about that book you want to write, you're always sharing something you're passionate about. You're telling me what has deeply impacted your life. You're telling me what you dare to hope you might share with the world. Whether you want to chronicle wisdom you've gained from being a special needs mom, or from taking a road trip and getting sober, or navigating the drastic changes and isolation of early motherhood, I want you to know the world needs your story.
It might not be fair of me to tell you to write the book. Books have a way of changing our lives as writers as much as they do our readers. Here's fair warning; writing will take over your life, at least for a time. Books like babies have a life of their own. Your book will tell you when you need to write. You may write in voice memos, your notes app, or email drafts at a day job. Notes and outlines may find their way onto napkins and envelopes from junk mail. Once you open the door, your book will gradually balloon to fill all the room it can in your life. On the bright side, if you have a book that won't leave you alone, you have a good one. So if it won't let you tune out and watch The Bachelor, if it keeps you awake at night, just start writing.
People will marvel at where you "find time" to write. You'll smile and nod, while thinking about the early mornings, sleepless nights, and stolen weekend hours devoted to finishing that chapter or re-crafting the paragraph that doesn't quite flow perfectly. They don't realize how writing becomes compulsive. They don't understand how it feels to have a book bottled up inside, trying to get out.
The book will ask more of you than you originally planned to give. There may be personal details that become integral to illustrating a point that you'd rather let lie. Even if you don't name names, you'll wonder who might piece together the unsaid and unnamed parts of your story. You'll likely decide the book is worth the risk.
I want you to know that from this surreal side of having a book in the world, it's worth it. It's worth it for me at least. Watching new and old friends coming from the four corners of my life to support Dear Sister is something I'll never forget. As an introvert who has always hated small talk, I love that I can have a two sentence conversation about my book and either be in a deep conversation about autonomy, faith, and the female experience, or on my merry way. Want something to cut the small talk? Write a book about a topic you want to discuss for the rest of your life.
So if we've had this conversation, if you've told me about that book you feel growing in your soul, I really hope you write it. If we haven't had the conversation yet, please tell me about the book you want to write. I can't wait to hear your story.