It isn’t the start, that’s the easy bit.
It isn’t the middle, that’s a little more difficult than the start, but it still isn’t the hardest part.
The hardest part? That’s getting to the end.
I’m not the fittest guy you’re likely to meet, if you think about it that’s hardly surprising, I spend my day drinking coffee and sitting at a desk. Even if I stick the coffee at the far end of the kitchen, in the highest cupboard at the back of the shelf, there is only so much exercise I’m going to get.
Last month I spent some time in the south of England with a friend of mine. He’s a fit guy, he’s one of those people who cycle to work and run up the stairs, even though we have internal combustion engines and elevators.
You know the kind of person I mean? The really irritating kind.
Paul took me to a place called Lulworth in the county of Dorset. It’s beautiful there, so beautiful that even though I write for a living, I wouldn’t try tell you how beautiful it is.
We got out the car and looked at the view.
“Wow,” I said. “It’s amazing, really beautiful.” (see?)
“This isn’t it, the view is up that hill,” Paul said, lifting his arm at an alarming angle, pointing at the top of something that I would call a mountain. “Come on.”
Paul started walking.
I started whining.
“I can’t go up there? Look at how steep it is!”
Paul didn’t answer, he was already about sixty feet away, shaking his head.
“Seriously, there is no way I can get up there!”
He carried on shaking his head for the next two hours, as we made our way along the path. I trailed behind, moaning softly to myself, stopping frequently, pretending to admire the view while actually getting my breath back.
The beginning was hard, the middle was harder, making it to the end nearly killed me.
But I was glad I did.
Because that was where the satisfaction lay.
I looked out across the English Channel and I knew the pain of that climb, I knew the time it took,
I knew all of the effort and the number of blisters I had.
And I knew it was worth it.
A bit like writing a book.
“I could never write a book.”
I can’t tell you how many times people have said that to me when I’ve told them I’m a writer (I always wait till I’m asked by the way, I don’t go around shouting “I’m a writer!” at strangers.)
Whenever someone say it I always reply:
“You can, anyone can, you just have to sit down and do it.”
Nobody believes me.
I get all the excuses:
“I’m not smart enough…” (A useless excuse, you’ve only got to look at me to see you don’t have to be smart.)
“I don’t have enough time…” (I was working over seventy hours a week when I started mine.)
“I don’t have enough of an imagination…” (If you played as a child, if you’ve daydreamed out the window, you can write a book.)
I feel for those people, I really do, because they’ll never know, the struggle up the mountain, the pain in the middle, and then the hardest part, the final few feet to the top.
And because of that, they’ll never know how amazing it is at the top of the mountain looking back at what you’ve achieved.
I guess what I’m trying to say to you is if you are on the mountain that is writing a book, don’t give up, no matter how much it hurts, takes up your time, taxes your brain and causes you sleepless nights.
Just keep going, it’ll be worth it when you get there.
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