The First Book, like a lover, is full of possibilities, until in hindsight it isn’t the one. It is everything wrong, over-valued, embarrassing naive and definitely egoistic. I recall writing 90,000 words of my first book between 2008 and 2009 when I was going through a really tough time in my personal life. The story was about the adventures of a woman who sets out to find rediscover life after her husband abandons her for no particular reason; obviously, right there, the book was designed for disaster, because it was my story, very thinly veiled and rather frayed at the edges. But, the most important thing is, I finished writing it! Though it was full of typos, grammatical errors and yes, even spelling mistakes. Weird for a literature student who aced spelling tests and scored the highest marks in English Language at school among all the other subjects.
Not really weird. The first one is always the hardest, like the first kiss, the first tooth extraction, the first colonoscopy, the first confession and the first infidelity. All very painful, sometimes necessary, and at other times recklessly self-indulgent. Yet, at times, we must do it. Write about the sorry state of our lives, pretend to be the writer and not the character in the book, ignore that it was an autobiography of sorts (very whiney and editable), and above all, we must finish what we began.
That was supposed to be my debut to the writing world. All 90,000 words of it must have given Harper Collins a massive headache, because I was recommended by someone very prominent and famous in India (a playwright) to the Editor. Only after the tome had been printed and bound and couriered, I discovered the tons of mistakes I had made. I nearly got a heart attack. Is there a moral of the story here? Of course, a bushel full of morals. But what really stayed with me from that experience was, whether it is the first one or the second one or the third one, writing a book is a big responsibility. The aim is to entertain the readers with a story that is more than a narration of a series of personal experiences. What makes us think our lives are so great that readers would want to read about it? Well, in my case, certainly not I would think. Unless I was Angelina Jolie or something.
On second thoughts, why be anyone else? Just write a good story.