Write like you don't care.

I can't tell you the number of people I've run into that have the tools to write a book and never get around to it. They have much too high expectations of their first efforts.

But at the same time, it's these high expectations that get some people to actually write a book. The financial rewards are usually so unrealistic it isn't worth talking about. That reality will hit you fast enough and if that's the only reason you're writing, then you might as well quit now.

It's the response by your family and friends that you have to overcome. Either they'll blow smoke, tell you what you want to hear, or they'll be honest.

It's enough to crush ambition. But...at least what happened to me is that the urge to write returned, again and again, after each crushing. And I slowly got a little better. But at first, most writers aren't going to be at the level they hoped for.

So they write something and they think it's pretty good and they expose it and find out maybe it isn't that good, so they try again, and it falls short again but there is a bit of improvement, and then you do it again, and you've got the beginner mistakes out of the way but you find even bigger problems, and...well...it never ends.

It's a constant negotiation with reality.

I'm always trying to write the "good" book. That sounds modest, but it isn't. It's the Holy Grail. It's something that very few writers ever actually manage. It's my own definition, I guess. A "good" book that is so good that people talk about it, pass it along to others, reread and savored.

Every time I start a new book there is a chance it will happen.

But I can't put that expectation on myself or nothing will get done. I do best when I just wing it, write whatever comes to me, enjoy the process, not care whether anyone else is going to like it.

It's a bit of a Catch-22, I suppose. I might be better served trying to figure out what might be commercially viable, then do a lot of planning to achieve that goal.

But...that book will never get written. Has never gotten written. A few times I've tried, and the result wasn't that good, frankly. It fell flat. Right idea, right approach, flat result.

Bad idea, bad approach, lively result.

Anyway, if I had any advice to beginning writers it would be to write like you don't care. Do it for your own amusement.

Of course, the old pros would probably look down at this approach. But for me, it's very liberating. And it doesn't keep me from trying to get better. I just give myself breathing room, and the chance to have fun, and to keep the sense of exploration alive.