Book idea? Why not let it grow?

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As a kid, I was a dedicated little gardener.

Encouraged by my mum who also loved the garden, I happily cultivated cuttings or any uprooted plants I could get my hands on.

Many of these were donated generously by Noel Purvis, an elderly man who lived in our street.

Mr Purvis was a man from a different era. Wearing a buttoned up shirt even when mowing the lawn (a carry over from his 50 years working at the local branch of the Commonwealth Bank) and well-mannered in ways we no longer see, he would always tip his hat as we kids walked past in the afternoons on our way home from school.

As my siblings moved onto other schools and university, I was the only one who’s daily trek took them past his beautifully maintained lawn and garden. I loved it. Roses, dahlias, snap dragons, carnations. And perfectly manicured grass.

It was my daily routine, our family’s long time association with him, and my own enjoyment of seeing things grow which no doubt prompted him to impart his seemingly infinite gardening wisdom – and various gifts of greenery.

He would regular hand over seedlings that would grow into flowers, vegetables that could fill a plate, and bulbs that would eventually emerge as Spring blooms.

As most aspiring green thumbs will tell you, success in the garden is never guaranteed. Aspirations and intentions can be left floundering among wilted stems and shrivelled leaves. I’ve certainly lamented many gardening failures.

So imagine my delight when a friend recently shared cuttings from her garden, which was facing imminent decimation after threats from her husband that it “would all be going this weekend”.

Herbs, flowers, and vegetables were mine for the taking. Feeling that same childlike thrill about my garden, I relished in the potential, with every little cutting holding the promise of more.

More pots, more soil, and more dreams about how I would somehow, magically, transform these delicate small things into enduring bigger plants.

Book ideas are like plant cuttings

The nature of all plants to regenerate from even the smallest leaf or off cut is a marvel that continues to surprise me. Even in the the most appalling conditions and lack of care, a plant will somehow reach towards life.

Book ideas are like plant cuttings.

Before a word is written, they hold the promise of potential. And with time, care, and attention, they expand into much more too.

A constant gardener and writer, I understand the potential and the process for growing both.

Sadly, many plants have died an unnatural death arising through my lack of care and a few book ideas have befallen a similar fate.

Maybe it’s the same for you. Perhaps you’re no gardener, but you do have an idea for a book.

Not just any book, but a book with purpose that you know will make a difference. So where is it? Buried deep and unnourished? Perhaps starving for life?

When I share with people I’ve written a book about how to write a book, they often laugh. “Isn’t it a bit strange to write a book about how to write a book? they ask.

Well, not really.

Given that many people have an idea to write a book, but most don’t know where to start, and if they do start, they don’t know how to keep going and finish it, then having a process for getting it done makes total sense.

Here’s the thing. Anyone can say they have an idea for a book, but talk is not only cheap, it’s meaningless.

Without the right things in place (time, care, and attention) and the ‘write’ mindset, your book idea will end up exactly like cuttings that promise potential, but fail to grow.

Next year, grow your book

I totally understand the mental, emotional, and practical hurdles with the power to stunt the development of a book idea into a fully fledged manuscript.

Why? Because I’ve wrestled the anti-book demons myself.

Fear and doubt have loomed large, along with a good dose of challenging life circumstances. For several years, my book about how to write a book gathered digital dust.

Only through a determination to complete it regardless (yes, even if nobody bought a copy or read it), was it finally finished.

Is it perfect? Not by a long way, but as Liz Gilbert reminds us, “done is better than perfect.”

So with that in mind, consider how you will handle your book idea going into another year.

Will you absent yourself from taking on the task, listing tired excuses as your comfortable fallback?

Not enough time.

Nobody will care.

I don’t have anything to say. 

Or will you start – and build the muscle to keep going?

Only you know deep down if there’s a purposeful book with a meaningful message inside you.

By the end of the third week in January most people have already eschewed their new year resolutions in favour of complacency. Don’t let that be you. And don’t let another year pass without committing to your book.

Instead, be wise. Resolve to nourish your book idea.  Then implement the tools and support that allows your book to emerge. Every word of it.

I know for sure you’ll be delighted you did.

Macushla Collins is a conscious content creator and author of 7 Day Book Blueprint. If you’re tired of having your book idea inside your head and would love to bring it to life, the process outlined in 7 Day Book Blueprint can help.