Everyone has a book in them

There’s an idea that drives me a bit nuts. It has too much to do with the fact that most of us can read and write, and books are just a big pile of words, so of course anyone can do it. We don’t have a collective belief that we all have a fresco, symphony, ballet or opera in us. Or a really impressive bit of brain surgery just needing the right context to bring it out. This is in many ways a shame, who knows how many amazing things haven’t happened because the person who should have done it was bogged down in the idea of a book.

I cherish creativity, in all forms. I love the gorgeous photographs on facebook of things people have knitted and sewn, the craft items and artwork. Having dabbled enough in song writing to know I’m not terribly good at it, I am deeply impressed by people who can reliably get an idea down succinctly to a good tune. There are so many ways of being creative, but for some mysterious reason we’ve elevated the book as some kind of creative ideal. At the same time, from the business side, it’s one of the least lucrative things you can do. Write a song and busk with it and at the end of the day there will be some money in the hat. Not so with a book. If you have dreams of wealth and fame for writing, a novel is almost certainly not the answer. The money these days is in film, TV, and writing content for computer games. If you think that’s going to be too hard to get into, it’s not any worse than writing novels. Sure, the illusion of self publishing is that you will get a readership, but putting a book out there and getting people to read it is a whole other thing.

If you’re drawn at all to more bardic ways of working, then creating just for yourself isn’t going to be enough. The sharing of inspiration, and output is so much of what it’s all about. Making things that have nowhere to go is not a happy or rewarding process. It feels like something has aborted, and it feels wrong, and demoralising. Finding spaces to share creativity is actually a key part of the creative process. Short stories and storytelling often results in being able to get a thing into the world, where novels do not.

I’ve seen this from the outside too many times. People who wanted to write a book, and who didn’t know all the technical and business things that go with it, assuming it would be easier than the symphony or the ballet. It isn’t. Not being able to take the work forward cripples confidence and undermines inspiration, and a person who was full of creative energy can end up with very little. Frustration will do that to you.

Everyone has the capacity to create, and there are many different ways of doing it, all of them equally valid. Having been through this process with novels, I’ve ended up moving away to spend most of my time working on other things. The graphic novel are out there and doing well – there is more of a market for them, for a start. I’ve found a deep love of writing non-fiction work, which came as a total surprise to me. Far more of my creative energy goes into non-fiction work these days, and I’m determined to get back into dancing and singing. Novels are nice, and when I find a good one, I enjoy it, but they aren’t the pinnacle of creative achievement, and it’s not worth getting too focused on them. What you might have in you is the next cult TV hit, the next Ben Ten, the next pant wittingly funny piece of stand-up comedy.

If, after all of that you’re thinking, no, I really must write a novel, it is the only thing that makes sense then, yes. You may well have a novel in there trying to get out, and I wish you much joy of it.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

10 responses to “Everyone has a book in them

  • Experienced Tutors

    . . . and yet we still do it. Hundreds of hours pouring over those words. 27,000 words into mine and only death is going to stop me finishing it. What weird creatures we humans are.

  • Graeme K Talboys

    Be prepared for heartbreak if you do go ahead because you can write well, get great endorsements from world renowned authors and still sell so few it reduces you to tears; whilst badly written garbage, dashed off over a weekend, sells millions. Makes you wonder why you bother trying to write anything of worth these days. And if that sounded bitter… well, yes. Publishing is not a place where hard work, skill, and a little artistry are necessary for success – despite what agents and editors might tell you (in their best-selling books for aspiring writers).

  • sedatedtabloidreader

    The reason don’t feel they have a symphony or a portrait in them is because by and large arts education is a total mess, which is deeply under-funded and not considered worthwhile next to “core” subjects.

    If everyone was taught music with the same intestity and respect and English then far more people would be trying to write musical masterpieces. All you’ve got to do is look at how many people sit around writing songs in the format their sub-genre considers respectable. There’s far certainly far more people trying to write brilliant albums than trying to write brilliant novels.

    As for writing the next TV comedy, that is a far harder market to break into than novel writing. Whereas there are thousands of novellists that make some money from their work, unless you have already established yourself as a comedian, the odds of your work appearing on TV are practically zero.

  • Symbian

    Hey Nimue … While I am Not Much of a Writer … I Do have a Not so bad Voice … So for my Book, I have choosen to Podcast to exercise that medium, perhaps in the future to do Specialized Self Help Guided Meditations and Pathworkings in .wav or mp3 format and Embrace my Ability to Span Beyond fear, anticipated rejection, and perhaps self imposed limiting potential worthieness issues ! The fact that I have any creativity and content within me at at all – in my mind JUSTIFIES externalizing the content and Honouring the Force that sent it to me in the first place ! (regardless of the Potential Popularity, or Disparagement the content might bear !) In The Process I am Embracing and Addressing one of the many Purposes that Life has shown to me ! … That Sweet Lady Enriches the Soul more that we can Comprehend ! ..Thank You For Posting ❤


    “I wish you much joy of it.” Your last line reminds me of the words of crazy old man who brought the venomous snake to Cleopatra at the end of Shakespeare’s play.

    “There’s joy in the worm,” he said.

    Shakespeare was writing on many levels. He meant the phallic snake but he also meant the worm of destiny. Which curls in a person’s heart like a worm in a plump red apple. If a writer has that worm twisting in his heart, then he must accept ownership. Like Adam accepting that he took the devil’s bait and munched on the forbidden fruit. He must know, in order not to be stymied by self-loathing for his sin, that it was placed there by God so that the story can unfold.

    The worm. The forbidden fruit. The devilish ambition to know god-like things or have god-like creativity. It’s a very hard road. And it leads back, ideally, to integration in Eden. However, I prefer the writer who’s had his/her ego tempered through life’s harsh trials. I want a humble authority with great experience and true magnanimity. I don’t want a static moralist with holier-than-thou perfumes.

    You have a nice site. You strike a big chord. And your last line, “I wish you joy in it,” was lovely and devilish.

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