It happened again today. I was having a nice conversation with someone, and he mentioned that he had an idea for a book he was going to write someday.
Now there's nothing wrong with having a good idea and sitting on it for awhile, until both the idea and you are ready. And there's nothing wrong with having a cool idea for a book that you know you're never really going to write. The potential heartbreak in this situation is embodied in the word "someday."
If you truly hope and plan to write a book or a story or your memoirs or a poem, you must decide to do it, then you must make it so. If you're truly too busy now, then look ahead and make a plan. Say, "When school starts and the kids are on a regular schedule, I will get up an hour early and work on my poetry before I start my day." Or maybe you do have time now, if you tell yourself that you will have dinner with your family, but that they can then watch TV without you for a day or three per week.
Notice that these plans do not involve the word "someday." "Someday" is the enemy of dreams.
Before I wrote Artifacts, I wrote an environmental thriller called Wounded Earth. It took me four years, because when I began it, I had three children under ten. As I was finishing it, some dear friends introduced me to the legendary science fiction writer, Joe Haldeman, and his wonderful wife Gay. I was gobsmacked with awe, particularly when Gay took me aside and said, "Do you want to see the Hugos?" (Why, yes, I did. They were kept next to the Hugos and the Nebulas and the World Fantasy Awards and...) And I was mortified when my friends brandished the manuscript of my book, which they'd smuggled into the house with us.
I did not ask Joe to look at my manuscript. (He said they got so many unsolicited manuscripts from people hoping for his help that they could use them for insulation.) But I did take away something very valuable from that encounter, beyond a new friendship. When my friends said, "Mary Anna's a writer!", Gay said just one thing. "Do you write every day?" And I was happy to say that I did, unless my family responsibilities kept me from it. I found it very interesting to see that this was her criterion for whether an aspiring writer was really serious, and whether he or she had some potential for making it.
If you make time to write a single page three times a week, then you will have a draft of a 300-page book in 100 weeks...two years. A single page a day, every day, will give you a book in a year.
So...do you write every day?