• Mike Dineen

Side Hustle Author | Top 3 Magic Moments of Writing a Book

The magic moments make it all worth it.

The one that may come to your mind is this one—that moment of receiving the very first, real-life copy of your book.

And yes, absolutely, that one sits at number 4 on my list. But there are other moments that are even better, in my opinion, ones I hadn't expected when I set out to write a book.

Here are my top 3.

My Top 3 Fave Moments of Writing a Book

When Something Clicks in Your Story

Creativity is a mysterious energy in your mind. The more practice you have being creative will help you hone that energy for great purposes, and train it into a muscle that can lift cars off pinned pedestrians.

Even still, there will come times when an aspect of your story drifts around in your creative thoughts and makes your mind itch. There's something there—something about your character, or your theme, or your concept—that stirs your mind, but you can't quite grab hold of it.

When you feel that tingly itch to your creativity, it's a sign that you're onto something. Chase after it. Focus in on it hard for a bit, then walk away. Go have a snack or a walk, and come back to it later, or the next day. Try looking at it from the side. Ask it questions.

Know that, even when you're not thinking about it, your mind is working it out in the background.

And then the magic moment happens: something clicks in your mind and a piece of your story falls into place. To be honest, it feels a bit like a high for me when it happens, one that I can walk around in all day. What's even better is that you will have many of these moments through the course of writing a book.

The Moments When Your Characters Become Real in Your Mind

Characters really are like people: you don't know them until you know them. To do that you have to spend time with them. You need to know where they came from, who they are in the present, and what their goals are for the future.

Of course with a real human, you don't have to make these things up. With characters, you do. I sometimes struggle with that—I'm literally just making shit up about a character as I go along, and, as such, they feel fake at first.

But even five minutes after you make up a character's back story, they have already started to become more real in your mind, and that knowing becomes more and more clear with each passing day that you spend with your characters.

Then, after all is said and done and you have completed a book, it hits you: these characters are a permanent part of who you are. They will always be not only with you, but out there in the world, alive in the minds of your readers.

It's great to be a writer.

The Moments When a Reader Tells You Your Book Transported Them

That's what it comes down to at the end of the day: you are creating an experience for your reader. You are taking the reader on a journey into a world that you have created.

I mean, it's incredible. It's a privilege. It's what you were put here to do.

They say that it's important to know what your goals are with writing. For example, do you want to win awards? Do you want to become a bestseller? But I would argue that you might not have a clear picture of what your goals are until you write that first book. I say this because I wasn't sure myself until my readers told me about the experience of reading my book, and I realized something:

My goal is to transport my reader on a journey.

Friendly Reality Check: Ideas Are Fun; Writing Is Hard

I might have included the ideation stage of writing in this list of magic moments. Indeed, that moment when an idea comes to you is thrilling, but I'm a little cautious in this respect. And don't get me wrong: ideation is critical, and giving that side of your creativity free rein to go nuts and get weird is one of the keys to success.

But I come back to one of my own little mantras: ideas are fun, writing is hard. This is, of course, only 75% true, but it's something I like to remind myself, given that I spent a lot of time—prior to writing a book—having great ideas, but not putting in the work to turn them into a real thing in the world.

The bottom-line is that if you don't put in the hard work of writing a book, then your idea is nothing more than that: an idea.

I don't mean for this to be a Debbie Downer moment—ultimately, it's just a friendly reality check from someone who cares. I'm reminded of something Stephen Pressfield said, which is also the title of one of his books: "Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit." He argues that accepting this fact is what separates a professional from an amateur.

In a similar vein, I would argue that no one wants to hear your great idea for a novel; they want to experience the finished product.

So get writing it.