If one quality binds all of humanity together as one and the same species, I would say it must be our capacity to dream; we can envision how we want our lives to be, not just see how they are now. This amazing capability is the foundation of everything humanity has achieved: art, technology, and even democracy. To see these dreams come to fruition, great sacrifices have been required: sometimes lives, but for less revolutionary dreams, time. Let me tell you about my dream and the steps I have taken toward realizing it.
Everybody has dreams, and sometimes, one must try new things to move toward those dreams. For example, this is my very first blog post and an attempt to find my blogging voice. I am not used to blogging, but it is a necessary-ish part of building an online presence, which definitely is necessary to succeed as an author. And that is my dream: My dream is to become an author—a storyteller. Telling stories is just one part of being a storyteller. The other part is the audience: there must be one. Thus, I have started to blog and build my social media platform.
As for the dream, I have always loved writing as well as reading. Ever since I was a child, I have been writing my own stories, even though they may not have been very good; storytelling is an art of precision, after all, not merely stringing together entirely random events without a plot to connect them. Nonetheless, I have been writing every since I could hold a pen. As I grew up, my attempts to craft stories with a pen and paper sophisticated, just a little bit. However, I was not mature enough to treat my manuscripts with the care they deserve: time, thoughfulness, and nuance. Time was my greatest enemy, and I never finished many manuscript because I did not realize how much time it would take to do so. Basically, I had a dream, but I did not know how to reach it.
I would say it is "easy" to write a decent novel, but it requires much dedication. A book is a long-term project, especially if one includes the time it takes to edit. What is most important to know is that once one says one is going to write a book, one must work hard to make it happen; it will not be finished overnight. However, anyone can write a decent novel; I sincerely believe that.
A novel can start with a simple idea, perhaps not expressed in more than one sentence. This idea is then developed into a more comprehensive outline. And then one writes until one's fingers bleed. My debut novel, The Winds of Change, took me nearly eleven months to write, but truth is I wrote seventy-five percent of it in the last three months; the first few months, the writing was slow and I worked mostly on the lore of The Long Lost Tales of the Dragonlands. Eleven months is quite a long time to write a book, and the editing was not much faster. Obviously, writing the book was hard work.
A successful career cannot be guaranteed, even with hard work, of course. I have far from "made it" as an author, but I have finished writing two books. And let me tell you, when one holds the first printed copy of one's book, it is worth all the effort, even if one fails to make it. In the end, one can only give it one's all, whether that is enough or not. Trying is succeeding, in a vague sense. I am just beginning my career as an author and it would take much for me to ever give up.
If you are interested in publishing your own work, there are many companies that help people publish their work—self-publishing. I use CreateSpace for paperbacks and Kindle Direct Publishing for e-books to give me direct access to Amazon and their many, many consumers. It has never been easier to be published, and to write a decent book is something most people can do, if they really try. There are plenty of things to figure out during the self-publishing process as well as the writing process, but anybody can do it as long as they are dedicated to the project.
As others have said before me: many have a book in them, many wish to write one, but few actually do it. Saying one will do something is meaningless if one does not do it. So with that in mind, I urge you to follow your dreams, whatever they may be. In the technological world we've made, it has never been easier; opportunities are not further away than a Google search.
One piece of advice I can give aspiring writers, musicians, and creative people is to get a website—a cloud in the digital sky; an island in the digital ocean; an anchor in the gaping, digital abyss. With Squarespace, this is not difficult (I made my site with said service; no coding is required; clicking, dragging, and uploading files is all that is needed). It is cheap, has many great features, looks professional, and is easy to use. As our world moves from the physical into the digital, a website is pretty much mandatory for any self-published author.
Thank you for reading my first blog entry and visiting my site. My debut book and debut novel—Blades in the Dark and The Winds of Change—are out on October 28 and December 9. For more information, see: http://www.authorpatrickhall.com/bibliography.
For those who wish to create a Squarespace website, a tryout period is available for free, without publishing the website. If you are considering publishing the website, be sure to check out the discount codes.