By Hannah Connolly
n 2021, more than a 200 million books were purchased across the UK, the highest number since records began and in the space of the same 12 months more than 188,000 books were published.
Collectively the industry is worth a staggering £6.3 billion (UK) and is on the rise post-lockdown with a renewed reverence for print media. So as an aspiring writer, what's stopping you from writing your very own and joining the 100s of thousands of writers going to press?
The short answer is often, well not that short, there's a myriad of reasons which may be preventing you from putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard – but don’t worry help is on hand.
Writer, certified life coach, editor and founder of Write Like A Grrrl, Kerry Ryan is here to take you on a journey from idea to finished product with her Stack World Club “From Draft to Book in Ten Months.”
Kerry has years of experience helping beginners and writers suffering from blocks to get through the process and is now curating industry insights into a monthly masterclass centered on motivation.
Expect supportive check-ins, creative prompts, weekly sources of inspiration and encouragement from a community of like-minded individuals. Writers of all disciplines and levels welcome.
Here we caught up with Kerry to discuss what a publisher is looking for, how to get over writer's block and how to summon the confidence to get your first sentence written down. Giving you a taster of what this Club has to offer ahead of the first event coming up this month…
How Do You Get Started?
If it's fiction just start writing. Just write and get it all down. Don't stop! Don't overthink it.
It will be terrible but first, second and third drafts always suck. You can outline to get you going but that outline will fall away when you start writing. That's perfectly okay. It's always best just to get the first draft out on the page and then edit afterwards.
With non-fiction, you can be a bit more structured and plan more meticulously but you still have to allow for change and development as you go.
How Do You Work Up The Confidence To Begin?
No writer is ever fully confident. If you don't feel a little out of your depth then you're not challenging yourself. You have to leap, but others can help support you to leap.
Tutors, therapists, or other writers, the community really does make all the difference. So find your community!
How Important is Accountability/Motivators During The Process?
You can't do it for other people, you have to do it for yourself. You've got to be passionate about what you're writing because that passion will then sustain you through the journey.
Accountability helps yes, but really you have to learn to enjoy the process and not focus on the end result. It's about a growth mindset and enjoying the journey. That's actually how you end up writing more and writing more frequently.
Motivation to write comes from being passionate about whatever you're writing about. This is why you don't write for other people but for yourself. The you when you were younger or the you who walks in Waterstones looking for the kind of book your writing. That's the passion that gives you daily motivation and determination.
“Self-doubt never goes away but what does happen, as we keep writing and keep learning our craft is that it quietens down.”
Is Writing A Lonely Process And Should This Change?
Writing can be lonely yes. But with the method I use you don't have to write for big chunks of time and there's plenty of time for socialising and going to the gym and doing all the other things that make you happy too.
I'd like to boot the myth of the writer as tortured genius to the moon. Writing can be joyful. Or why else do it? I love helping writers find joy in their practice.
What Would Be Your Biggest Tip For Someone Suffering From Writer's Block?
You have to turn towards whatever is blocking you, don't run away from it. Writing is a brilliant method for excavating your psychological blocks and bringing them into the light. Don't be afraid of blocks. Instead, get curious, delve into what might be stopping you. Turn towards your fears with self-compassion.
How Do You Approach A Publisher?
It depends on what you're writing. If you're writing non-fiction, you put together a proposal and then send it out to publishers/agents. If they like it, they'll commission it. If it's fiction or poetry then you have to have a full manuscript before you secure a literary agent who then punts your book around publishers.
“If you don't feel a little out of your depth then you're not challenging yourself.’
What Will A Publisher Be Looking For?
An engaging voice and an interesting story with compelling characters. That goes for non-fiction and fiction alike. The best thing you can do is write authentically and not write to fit into a market or please anyone in the sales department of Penguin.
What Is Your Biggest Piece Of Advice To Someone About To Embark On The Writing Journey?
Self-doubt never goes away but what does happen, as we keep writing and keep learning our craft is that it quietens down. Writing, sharing your words and witnessing others connect with your words is just magical.
Don't let fear stop you doing from what you've always wanted to do. Your story deserves to be told. Your words deserved to be shared. Start now and don't listen to the inner critic. You can do it!
“Start now and don't listen to the inner critic”: join the club taking you from draft to book in 10 months
By Hannah Connolly
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