Why Starting a Book is Hard


“As soon as we feel that the writing we are contemplating matters, our defensive system kicks in, and our fear that we can’t think well enough raises its ugly head. We are wrestled to the ground by the fact that we are trying to matter.

To be fanciful about it, when we do writing for hire we do not suppose that we are doing anything sacred. As soon as we approach our own serious work, work that feels sacred, we are awed by the task we have set ourself, and we flee in apprehension.

The first step in creating your book is surrendering to the reality of the process. Do not suppose that you are writing a book. Substitute a new thought: that you are thinking a book into existence.”

From The Art of the Book Proposal, by Eric Maisel. As one who is working on a nascent nonfiction book proposal himself, I can tell you that truer words were never written.

Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →