Shitty first book
I wrote this chapter of The Elements of Lifestyle after realizing I have to wrap it up. I decided to stop being afraid and accept that it's time to publish the book. That was a moment of creative enlightenment.
Finding my Writer's Enough:
Every writer wants to finish a book. But the book is never finished. It’s never perfect enough; it’s never the right size, shape, or form. There’s always something to add or remove.
Great writers know when to say enough. They decide it’s done, and move on.
I still remember how calm I felt, with an overwhelming sense of relief.
Writing and publishing on my own comes with absolute freedom. I can write what I want, how I want, and I get to decide what’s good or bad, right or wrong. And I can permit myself to publish an unfinished book. So I did.
You are reading an unfinished, shitty first book. And I gave this book a pretentious title, inspired by The Elements Of Style, a book of commandments for English-language writers.
(I wrote some apologetic shit here, defending my choice of title, but I deleted it. I’m not going to apologize.)
And then finally, I had the guts to admit whom I was writing it for:
... every writer has a so-called first reader. It’s the person they have in mind when they write, writing for them. I thought, what the heck, so I have three of them. The first is a teenage me. It’s that fourteen-year-old who discovered life between the bookshelves of that small local library in Maribor, Slovenia. I’m writing this book for him; this is what he wanted to read. These are the words that he sought, and he’d love them — in the right format, in an easily digestible booklet.
The other two readers are you, my dearest Diana, and you, Peter Junior. I found joy on this earth, and I want you two to find it as well. You’re turning out much better than your mother or I would ever dare to dream. And I only wish that you get to find joy in your lives too — at least as much of it as I had. This book should give you a head start.
It’s also my insurance policy. I lost my father when I needed him the most. I don’t want the same thing happening to you, Diana and Junior.
When it does, here’s a book full of my thoughts typed in words. They are here for you. I am here for you. And I always will be.
An editor might not have allowed me to title the chapter as I did. But there was no editor. I showered myself with tons of artistic freedom. This is the gift you are given when you take the responsibility to write your own shit.
They say that writing a book is a lonely endeavor. I'd agree with that, and it's the best time one can spend with himself. I've heard back from readers who decided to change their lives for the better, but it was mostly health/diet-related.
I'm still waiting for you to get inspired and write your own shitty first book. Start now.