The Myth of Writing Your Book by Yourself

Do you ever look at other authors and get major FOMO? How did they land that incredible publishing deal? How did they amass their following? How did they become a staggering genius all on their own?


The irony is, everybody thinks that. Everybody looks at somebody else and thinks they have all the luck. Even the people we think have all the luck.

A client once sent me an e-mail (one of my all-time favorites) that said, “Why can’t I do this by myself? Did Hemingway get help? Did the Bronte sisters get help?“

To be frank, yes and yes.

Hemingway was part of an illustrious group in Paris mentored by Gertrude Stein. And the Bronte sisters, well, they were sisters. They didn’t have to do it alone.

Editors used to play the role of midwife to a book. They don’t anymore. The book market for fiction has become so competitive that most editors are in a position to choose between fully polished manuscripts. And in the world of nonfiction, you’re usually expected to have an audience and a marketing plan before you’re offered a contract.

So again, that begs the question, how are you supposed to do this by yourself?

Well, you’re not. No one ever has.

My own path started at the University of Iowa. As an undergrad, I stalked the Writer’s Workshop, which launched the careers of so many successful authors. I got my hands on scholarships and internships, and workshops upon workshops. Having a mentor as a teacher is invaluable. I can honestly say, I never would have published my first stories if it wasn’t for direct feedback from other writers who were a few steps ahead of me.

However, I didn’t love the workshop model. In many cases it was the blind leading the blind, and in the worst cases, it was young students feeling threatened and simply cutting one another down.

In many ways, attending those programs at the Writer’s Workshop gave me the inspiration for the community we’ve created at The Writer’s Block. I wanted it to have phenomenal mentorship and tools for the craft of writing, but I also wanted it to be supportive and nurturing environment. Because, as I said, no one does it alone. If you’re ready to become an author, give yourself permission to receive the help you need. You can check out the details and schedule an Inspiration Breakthrough Session on the Author Coaching page.