PC #125 – The book completes the walk…

Having now finished the book, I feel like I’ve completed the walk. I didn’t realise, but I needed to write the book to make sense of what I’d done.

I didn’t set out to write a book when I started the Camino. The thought never crossed my mind. And even during the walk it was never a consideration. I was too focused on getting through each day.

It was only later, after Jennifer and I spent some time in Portugal, that we began to talk about it. Jennifer was quite adamant that I should write the book, and do it immediately – while everything was still fresh in my mind.

When I returned home I began to equivocate. Whilst I’d been working on a novel for some time, I’d never written non-fiction. My screenplay writing has all been drama, principally thrillers but a couple of comedies.

And writing a screenplay is a completely different craft to writing a book. It’s as different as playing golf to playing cricket.

It was an intimidating prospect, made more so because I’d seen what my daughter had gone through when she wrote her memoir, Only in Spain – which took her four years to write. (It’s been released in Australia and will be released in North America pre-summer.)

It was daunting. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a bad idea. These books don’t make money, and I’m judged by everything I put my name to. If I did it, it would have to be good – not something just dashed off, riffing off of my blog.

It had to be a stand-alone piece of original writing.

And that takes time – time I could better spend writing a new screenplay, which is my core business. So I decided not to go ahead with it. It would be too hard, and take too long.

But then I had that dream – such a vivid and disturbing dream. Of being in the Santiago Cathedral with a rifle, and shooting out the huge stained glass window. I woke up, distressed, and looked at the clock. It was 3:33am.

That was it. That was the kicker. I knew at that moment I had to write the book. I’d been directed to write the book, and I had to get on with it. There was no question about it.

I started that day.

As some of you might know from this blog, I wrote fast but I worked long hours. I didn’t stop for weekends. I just kept writing. I would start at 4:30am or 5am and write until 6pm. Some days I wrote 4,000 words, which is a lot. It seemed I never wrote any less than 2,000 words a day, which compared to the pace of my writing for my novel, was twice as fast.

It flowed. I didn’t have to think about it. And when I got to the end, at about 90,000 words, I then began the revisions. And then Jennifer came on board for the editing.

I chose to write in a light tone, because I think for me that’s the best way to tackle weighty issues. There are some Camino books out there that are light, but never scratch beneath the surface. They’re flip, superficial, and some of them are glib.

This is a pilgrimage, and it has to be respected as such, and whilst I’ve taken a humorous approach to some of it, at no time have I lost that deep abiding respect for the Camino, and what it stands for.

It is a memoir of a spiritual journey.

And now it’s done. And it occurred to me that the book has finally completed the walk for me. When I reached Santiago, I felt no sense of achievement. I was confused. Anyone who’s read the book will know that I didn’t actually even want to walk into the square. I stayed in a bar and had a beer, reluctant to walk the last kilometre to the Cathedral.

This is why I had to write the book – to understand the significance of the pilgrimage.  And of what I’d done. I feel now with its publication that it’s put a full stop on my Camino Frances, April/May 2013. I’ve finally finished my walk.

If you want to buy the book, you can do so here:


If you want a free copy, the offer is open until the end of the week. Email me at billpgsblog@gmail.com. All I ask is that you respect the IP, and you write a review. But only if you love it!!

TWMY_BillBennett_cover sm

14 thoughts on “PC #125 – The book completes the walk…

  1. Journalists take notes as they observe or interview and then put them all together. (sometimes too quickly.) Experiencing, absorbing, digesting and then recording with still fresh perspective. You are so wise, Jennifer and Bill. Oh! I think I’ve said that before about a few other blogs.Looking forward to reading.

    Now that you have a successful brace and a completed book, you can kick up your heels. Or I guess that 5K walk was your version of a kick and a good one, too.


  2. I’m still reading (slowly because I have kitchen renovations, 91 year mother, and job to attend to) but want to compliment you on the quality of the book – very professional and quite engaging.
    I was planning the camino for this October-December but had already decided the time wasn’t right. Good thing, since today I activated an old knee injury and had to borrow a cane from my mother! Now I REALLY sympathise with you.


  3. I am enjoying your book. Your pictures are lovely in black and withe too. Not sure I want to do the big mountain on the border between France and Spain after reading about your struggle…….But I would like to see if I can watch a film you have made. Are any available to buy by internett?


  4. Bill, your writing is always inspirational, delicate and deep. I’m very much looking forward to reading the book and seeing your next movie. Duh, I finally read your blog about what a sizzle reel is. My bad, still recovering from that mini-vacation.
    I’d been thinking about writing a book about the Camino since day one only I had no idea how to go about doing it. My posts have become like half-hour t.v shows – episodic. Now, as I near the end of my Camino, I don’t know what to do.


    • Hi Kathy,

      You’re a wonderful writer. You SHOULD write a book.

      I found it hard, and demanding – but I find all writing hard. It doesn’t come easy for me.

      Most important thing, do you have something you really want to say? If you do, then it’s a no-brainer. You HAVE to write it!

      I’m sure it will be wonderful.



  5. Book Review.

    I don’t read travel books and I don’t as a rule read blogs, but after a few exchanges with Bill on the Camino forum I decided to give his blog a go. I liked his shoot from the hip style of writing and sometimes his shoot in the foot style too, so when he said he was expanding the blog of his Camino trip into a book I had to read it.
    I have not laughed out loud at a book since I read “Memoirs Of A Mangy Lover” by Groucho Marx but this book made me laugh out loud. I read it while I was walking the Camino from Sarria with my wife recently and I had to read her passages to explain why I was laughing so much. It was not all fun though, some of the sections that covered the emergence of the “new” Bill were emotional and reminded me of similar experiences in my own life.
    It made me smile to hear how Bills PGS had guided him past the albergue in Ciruena, my own PGS kicked in a little too late in that instance, see day nine of my own blog.
    The total anti climax when finally reaching the Cathedral in Santiago was similar to my own, a fantastic achievement, met by my wife at the steps leading down to the plaza but then nothing. The real joy came afterwards when I met my Camino family with my wife over the next two days sharing vino tintos and meals.
    For anyone who has walked the Camino this is a must read, it will remind you of your own experiences, you will see the places you have passed and you will have a great laugh to boot.
    Well done Bill, I loved it.



    • Pat,

      What a glorious review. Thank you!

      I’m delighted that you found it funny AND moving, too.

      I think there’s nothing more rewarding than making people laugh, cry, and consider their world around them.

      Again, my thanks! Bill

      (Anyone else who’s read the book want to write a review too?)


Comments are closed.