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How to Not Write a Book

2022, Nonexistent Publishers

While the market is flooded with books on How to Write a Book, How-to-Not-Write-a-Book books are in short supply. Wanting to remedy this paucity of information, spoke with one of the world's leading Not-Writing-a-Book experts, who agreed to share her techniques with us on condition of anonymity.

What is the best way to not write a book?

The first thing to do is anything else you can possibly dream up. Clean the house, replant the garden, scrape the 3-year-old moss build-up off your driveway. Take your clothes to the tailor for mending, or better, repair them yourself, slowly. Update your address book, reorganise your desk, sort your bookshelves using the Dewey Decimal System.

If you finish these tasks and finally have a spare moment to start writing, use it instead to reconnect with everyone in your updated address book, then cook and freeze dinners for the next 6 months, buy a new freezer, get a new puppy, train your new puppy, and once that is done, reread all your past writing attempts from high school no matter how trivial.

If, in spite of using these techniques, you notice that you are about to start writing your book, immediately read a How-to-Write-a-Book book. Avoid like the plague any good ideas you might find and certainly do not put any of them into practice. I recommend The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, which inspiringly reveals that anyone with the desire can write a book, and provides exercises to do instead of writing one.

After reading The Artist's Way, you may be tempted to sit down and start writing. That is the time to realise you need a new computer. Do not think about how people managed to write books before computers. After extensive time-consuming research, get the new computer. Then, carefully ignoring any little voice saying you should now really start to write, take some time to learn about software packages like Scrivener that help you organise the writing you haven't done. Worry it will take too long to download the software, or that it won't work for your particular project and could therefore be a waste of time. Ponder that for a few weeks.

If, against all odds, you still manage to write what might pass for a rough draft, it's still entirely possible to not write a book. Simply get stressed looking at the numerous unrelated sections to the draft, while staring at it in confusion for awhile. If you realise that some research is needed, remind yourself: That's too much work. Try to revise without doing any research. Get a sick feeling in your stomach at the inadequacy of the draft. Let your confidence slide as low as possible. Fret over what other people will think of your ideas. Get down on yourself for your lack of tenacity and motivation.

Continue along the path of procrastination. Call Lino at Slimsonic to discuss the ultrasonic belly-melt belt. He may say he's surprised that you, unlike him, have time to exercise for one hour every day. Don't be embarrassed. Just tell him how hard you work. That should put him in his place. After all, not everyone can work in an office. Some of us have to stay home and not write books.

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