Why Haven’t You Written a Book Yet?

Why aren’t you published? When can I read your book? Are you working on something? When is your book coming out?

Well? Why?

Why haven’t you written a book yet?

Is it because you’re too busy? Too distracted? Too tired? Too lazy?

Probably not, actually.

Many people want to write books. Far fewer actually start. Even fewer than that finish. And only a small percentage of finished drafts ever get published.

Whatever your barrier to that final stage might be, the most frustrating part of trying to publish something is having to explain to other people that yes you have written a book, no it isn’t done yet, no you’re not going to let them read it, and yes, you hope to get it published someday.

I hate telling people I’m a writer. Because the first question they always ask (you know what it is already) is, “So are you writing a book?”

Often followed immediately by, “Are you going to get it published?”


And … maybe? If I’m lucky?

For some reason, it’s so, so hard for non-writers to understand that between writing a book and that book ending up on a shelf in a bookstore, there are months, sometimes even years’ worth of work. Even self-publishing can take forever, and then you have to worry about your own marketing, which I hear is an absolute nightmare if you don’t have marketing experience.

(Tip: get a degree in communications. You’ll take so many marketing classes your head might explode.)

Bottom line: these things take time. So, so much time.

And we’re tired.

And even though we really appreciate you asking … our answers probably aren’t very satisfactory and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Many writers are perceived as lazy because it doesn’t look like we really do anything.

Haha. Of course we do. It just doesn’t look very exciting, it involves a lot of Word documents and emails, and sometimes we have to take breaks because OUR HANDS HURT OKAY?


Maybe we should start answering like this:

“I have written a book. Several, actually. But they’re just rough drafts. I’m still working on them. You can’t read them because I’m not ready for you to read them, you probably won’t actually read them and you’re just trying to be nice, I haven’t told you about them because I don’t want to spoil them, but I promise, if I ever publish one, you’ll know. If you really care to know.”

I wish I could talk about my books. Isn’t it weird that we have so many stories to tell but can’t share half of them because, well, what if we actually do publish one of them and that one person who knows what happens at the end can’t enjoy it as much?

Also … not all writers write books.

Why does everyone assume I’m going to write a book? That’s technically not my job.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to write one.

There are only so many hours in a day, you know.

Are you ever tempted to write and publish a book just so people will stop asking you when it’s going to happen? Because I am.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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