It took me eleven months to write my book. It started out as a challenge really, I had an idea for the book and how I would put it together, but really I suppose it was a bit of a pipe dream. My mum always said she was going to write a book. She never meant it, it was just her throw away line after another one of her up’s or down’s. “I’ll write a book one day”.
Holding down a full time job, a wife, two kids and a dog, its difficult to see where there is time to write. So it was always going to be a challenge. But I found the time. Sneaking in five minutes here and there. A lot of writers suffer from writers block, when the page is staring at them and they don’t know what the next word or sentence is going to be. I didn’t have that. I didn’t force myself to write, I just wrote when something came into my head. The vast majority of the book has been written on my phone, which is always in my pocket. Something in my head, straight onto the phone through my thumbs and emailed it to myself. Nothing forced, just things I wanted to say.
Doing it that way, the word count soon builds up. Half way through the season, I realised I had a accumulated a fair amount of work. The pressure grows a little bit then, because if you don’t continue, then you’ve lost all that hard work. I would begin to worry that I hadn’t written anything for a couple of days, but then realised I didn’t have anything to say. The games came thick and fast in the second half of the season…there was plenty to write.
Over the eleven months, I became quite attached to it, quite protective of it. By the time we got to the end of the season, I wasn’t sure what i was going to do with it. I’d written it but had no idea if anyone would be interested in reading it. Liverpool winning the European Cup definitely increased the viability of it (who wants to read about a season where we won nothing) but I wasn’t at all confident in my own writing ability that I could sell it in a bookshop.
So I spoke to my old boss. Not just a boss, but a mentor, someone who tells it straight. Someone who I can trust to tell me where I’m going wrong and what I need to do to fix it. To be honest, I didn’t even call him about the book. I was talking about other things really. I’m in the process of moving jobs, leaving one to set up my own business. Thats what I needed the advice on. But I threw it into the conversation…oh by the way, Ive written a book about Liverpool. I should say that he is a big Liverpool fan, we’d just been talking about our plans for going to Madrid for the final.
He was a bit flabbergasted I think. A book? Just like that? But he offered to read it, which was a bit of a shock. It’s was my book, my little secret. Of course someone had to read at some point, but the idea of someone going through it and forming an opinion about it. I don’t think I was quite ready for that. I agreed though. He also said that he would get his 16 year old son to read it too. Of course that required some editing to take out all the swearing!!
So a couple of weeks later and the final has been played and we win and within a couple of days, my book is finished. Ready to share. I have to say it was so difficult to press that send button. I’ve sent things to him in the past, my CV mostly, and it comes back with so much red on it, I feel like the thick kid at school.
But I did send it. A deep breath and pressed the button. Letting it go. It was a big moment. The moment when it changed from being my secret little project to a piece of writing that people would have an opinion on. It was a big step. And he loved it. Absorbing he said. He kept texting me saying how much he enjoyed it. And then the text when he said it needs to go to print, that was such a boost. Not that he’s a book publisher or anything. Just a Liverpool fan and an honest guy…thats all I needed.
I told my wife too. She was the one I really wanted to be proud of me. I hadn’t told her about the book and I felt guilty about that. I thought she might be upset that I had been doing this for almost a year without telling her. But she wasn’t. She was wonderful, so supportive, it had me in tears. So positive, so proud of me.
There’s part of the book that is autobiographical. Tells the story of me growing up in the 80’s and why I became so attached to the football. She sat there that night and read it. A lot of it was new to her, stuff I have never talked about, kept locked away. I waited in the other room, unable to sit still. Kept poking my head around the door to see if she was still reading it. In the end she came in, tears in her eyes and gave me the biggest hug. Just that made the whole year of writing worth it.
I think that has been the biggest, most difficult step so far. Sharing it. I suppose thats what I’m doing now. I’m told I need to share more. I still think its a bit self indulgent, a bit ‘look at me’. But I’m doing it, I’m getting it out there instead of keeping it all in my head, or on a secret Word document. It’s a change in mindset, who know what it will bring?