On National Book Lovers Day, a day to celebrate reading and literature, new research from national biographer StoryTerrace reveals that almost 5 million Brits are planning to pen their own book this year. With literary activities having experienced a boom in popularity in the wake of the pandemic, activities like reading and creative writing have provided many with a sense of escapism and relaxation during a period of widespread anxiety and stress. For a significant portion of the population, however, trending literary activities are not simply a pastime. They’re stirring a cultural movement for Brits to turn their own lives into books.
As the nation spent the past 16 months reflecting on their lives and memories whilst spending more time at home than ever before, StoryTerrace experienced an influx of requests from people wanting to preserve their life stories for generations to come. This trend occurred as over half the nation say they wish they could tell their younger self to document their life story, as they feel most of it has been forgotten.
In light of National Book Lovers Day, CEO of StoryTerrace Rutger Bruining shares his tips on how to pen your own book:
1) Write with passion
You can plan out every chapter and paragraph in your book, but if you don’t care about what you are writing, you’ll find it extremely difficult to get anywhere. Very few people have an exact idea of what they want to write when they begin, and the plot, theme and content will likely evolve as you write. But passion is what will keep your ideas fresh and unique, and will get you to that finish line.
Stuck for somewhere to start? Your own life story, or the story of your parents, might be the best place to look! Over 2,000 people have done just that and documented their life stories with StoryTerrace.
2) A good book is built on solid foundations
Okay, so you have a topic you’re passionate about and you know what you want your book to be about. The next step is to put together a rough outline or structure to help guide your writing. Your book is likely to fluctuate, transform and evolve as you write, but it is very difficult to finish an entire book with no idea of where you’re going. Devising a solid foundation and structure will help you fill in the gaps and help you to progress when you hit the inevitable writer’s block.
3) Divide and conquer
The idea of sitting down to write hundreds of pages in a few sittings is not only unrealistic but takes the joy out of writing. If you expect to write dozens of pages every time you sit at your desk, you will be sorely disappointed and quickly discouraged. Your book is a huge collection of sentences, paragraphs and chapters – write in small chunks and set yourself little, achievable goals. Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of pages drafted – slow and steady really does win the race.
4) Consistency is king – stick to a schedule!
It is easy to write when you feel like writing, but it is far more important to write with consistency, even if you don’t feel like it. You won’t always be feeling energised and inspired to write, but even if you only manage a single paragraph or some editing in your allotted time, this is still progress. Stick to the schedule and you’ll have a much greater chance of finishing your book.
Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, discusses the prominence of tradition in a digital world:
“Technology has permeated most aspects of our everyday lives, which seems to be becoming more prominent over time. The pandemic also made even more aspects of our lives turn virtual, particularly when it comes to spending time with the ones we care about the most as we resorted to Zoom calling during periods of isolation. However, it seems that we are starting to see a revival of traditional forms of media we interact with – especially when it comes to books.
This National Book Lovers Day, we’re encouraging everyone to explore the literary world a little deeper – whether that be picking up a physical book, or writing a short story. While digital books are easily accessible, we’re not willing to let go of books in their physical form.
At StoryTerrace, we have also experienced a boom in the number of people wanting to document their own life stories, with an emphasis on having a physical copy. I hope that the value we place on physical memories like biographies continues for future generations, as it offers a much more effective and engaging way of preserving our memories.”
Kind regards, and do let me know if you’re interested in hearing more about StoryTerrace or speaking to Rutger about National Book Lovers Day.