January is supposed to be all about giving things up, taking things up and becoming better versions of ourselves. But it’s cold and dark and to be honest most of us just want to curl up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate and a good film and save the salads and jogging for May, when you actually feel like eating cold food and going outside.
In January there’s only one resolution worth making:
Write a book.
Now that’s an idea that just might be worth poking your nose out from under the duvet for. A book – the one you’ve had fermenting in your brain for the last few months or perhaps years, waiting for the right moment, the space, the energy and the time.
That time just might be now.
January is an excellent time for thinking, writing a few notes, making a bit of a plan (nothing too strenuous). It’s also a good time for finding a ghostwriter (so easy, just one web address needed) and for having a chat with a prospective ghost about how your book might come together.
I know, I know. Doubts can set in. There was that guy (Christopher Hitchens) who said, ‘Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay’. He was an excellent journalist and author, but completely wrong on this point. The people who get their books out there don’t give in to doubters, carpers and critics. They get on with it, write their books and then sit back and glow with pride.
The point is that when a book is bubbling away inside you it isn’t about other people, the critics or even potential readers. It’s about you. It’s a highly personal thing.
Some books are extremely niche, but that didn’t stop the people who wrote them. Do you think the authors of How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety (Zachary Auburn) or How to Avoid Huge Ships (Captain John Trimmer) would have gone ahead and written their books if they’d listened to the likes of Mr Hitchens? They would not, and nor would many others who have taken the plunge into the literary world and felt more fulfilled for it.
As it is both these books gleaned some amazingly appreciative (and sometimes brilliantly funny) reviews, including, ‘I believe cat crime would be a fraction of today’s levels if this book was made available in all vet reception areas’ (Mr Auburn’s book) and ‘I was jogging round the block when all of a sudden I was almost struck by a huge ship! Thankfully I had read How to Avoid Huge Ships. I have lived to tell the tale and now I only hope future generations read this lifesaver’ (Captain Trimmer’s book).
Your book may not be quite that niche. It might be about your life, or a time in your life that feels especially significant. It might be a business book or a guide to living better, a book about travel or therapy or a love story.
Whatever it is, it’s waiting to be brought out into the world and now is the time to go ahead and get started, so that next January you’ll be holding your published book in your hand, and whatever else you did or didn’t achieve during that year will pale into insignificance beside the huge satisfaction of having written a book.
Caro Handley has worked with authors on over 60 books