Writing My First Book

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Writing a book has been my lifelong dream. That is probably the reason why it sounds so unbelievable that I can now say, “I have written a book.” As I said, it has always been my dream, but never really a goal. I just wanted it too much to work for it because I didn’t want to ruin the whole fantasy.

I remember in 2018, I broke my own record and read 54 books in a year, and then I imagined how amazing it would be to write and publish something of my own since I felt inspired and I had so many stories in my head ready to be written down. It seemed as if I could find something that inspired me everywhere I looked. However, my wish remained only that, and I never took any action towards making it come true.

Now that I have my own book, soon to be published, I would like to share what I struggled with and how I overcame it.

How my dream overpowered my fear

My mindset has changed a lot, and I view most of the things that terrified me in a completely different way now. I will never forget how unbearably horrifying the idea of writing a book was to me at the time. I felt like I had so much to say, but then, if I did so, I would expose myself and my work for anyone to criticise it. Of course, as it is with everything that I hold precious and worthwhile, my fear would skyrocket at the thought of my work receiving negative feedback or me, as a writer, being labelled as incompetent of fulfilling my desire. Sometimes, the feeling was so strong that I wouldn’t even dare think about it any further.

To avoid sharing my opinion or experience, in the beginning, I used to write relying on the generic use of the pronoun ‘you’ so that I didn’t have to use ‘I’. I remember it was easier to generalise everything I wanted to say because that way, I felt like I was talking from a crowd, and no one would hold my words against me, as if I was committing a crime.

The thing that helped me diminish that fear was action – in my case, it was writing. That is the only thing that worked for me. I tried so many other options, but, instead, I sat down and kept writing. Regardless of what I felt, I was decisive to push through. And, little by little, I finalised the whole story.

I learned to be consistent

The famous saying has something along the lines of Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Or something similar. The point is that procrastination is my enemy. I know it now, and I also knew it when I started writing, but somehow, I could never escape its grip.

I remember making promises to myself, delaying the start date, thinking of different excuses not to write, and it would go on for days. And the longer I waited, the harder it was to start and be productive after that.

I either had days when I thought I had a lot of inspiration, so I sat down and wrote for hours, or I had days or even weeks without writing a single word because I felt the writer’s block.

When I saw that it would not work like that and that I would probably never finish the book, I decided to make a routine I would stick to every day. My timetable was pretty much the same for every day of the week; every day from 10 PM to midnight, I would write. I tried to stick to it even on my worst days. I knew it was important to push myself in order to keep writing.

So, that’s what I did. I pushed through all the bad days. Of course, it wasn’t always the same, but that’s something I knew was going to happen. Some days, it was easy to write – words would naturally flow from my mind. But, other days, I had to try my best to write the bare minimum.

The most important lesson I learned in the process was that procrastination is one of the worst things I have experienced. The longer I waited, the less inspired I was. And then, when I eventually tried to snap myself out of it, it was almost impossible to do so. I had no motivation, drive, inspiration, or will to proceed. I talk about it in hindsight now, but when I fully try to recall it, I cannot possibly put into words how difficult it was to start writing again after that phase. But, I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

Now, whenever I feel procrastination overcoming me, I start doing something. If I’m not inspired to create, I do the part that doesn’t require that, but I still do something—anything to keep me going and active. In the same way, procrastination hinders my writing, perseverance and effort contribute to my creativity.

I kept asking questions

My experience with writing taught me the importance of the people I surround myself with. Another thing I never saw coming.

As an introvert, it has always been difficult to talk to people and open up about my goals, let alone ask them for an opinion. But, writing a book required me to do it. It was crucial to consider different points of view, experiences, to hear feedback from as many people as possible so that I could know if I was on the right path or not.

To avoid talking to anyone about my storyline, I made a big mistake, and I tried to assume. I believed that even with the experiences I didn’t have, I could easily make up the storyline. But it didn’t work. And furthermore, it took me a while to realise it was not working. Everything I assumed in writing sounded fake when I later read it out loud.

When I wasn’t sure who to talk to first, I turned to Google to find out all the necessary information, and then, I started talking to my team members.

My family is the most trustworthy circle that I can rely on for honest review and advice on whatever I do. My book writing journey taught me the importance of having such a circle, whether it’s family, friends, or even coworkers. My work got refined with each reading, and I felt that it was getting better and better.

Whenever I felt stuck, I knew I had someone who would provide help and guidance and I will always appreciate such support. Some days, it took only one simple conversation with the people I trust to get me back on track and feel inspired to write again.

Where am I right now?

In a couple of weeks, I will hold my first book in my hands. What I once thought impossible turned out to be achievable and feasible through hard work and persistence.

For now, I am content with how far I’ve come, and I feel very hopeful about my future.

I am still not completely happy with my writing, but learning is a never-ending process, and I enjoy it too much. I’ve heard once that ‘writing is re-writing.’ From this point of view, I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I feel like editing my book million times a day. But, there was a point where I knew I should stop and let it be.

So, I keep nervously, yet excitedly waiting for my book to be printed, to hold it in my hands and then put it on my favourite shelf. I have a good feeling about it. It’s the first step towards my dream, but it’s the most important one. I am proud of myself.

I hope my book will reach many people and put a smile on their faces as they turn its last page.

Pozdrav,

Milica

Milica Sekulic

In my career, I have tried many things, but writing has always been something I primarily aspired for. Both my BA and MA were in English language and literature, so I’m also passionate about reading and teaching.

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