Today I met Judy Christie. Well, not in person. Through the Writer’s Digest online posting I get. The article is called “The No. 1 Tip of Successful Writers.” I have no idea how much Judy is like me: I’m not a woman, I’m not married, I don’t live in Louisiana, and I don’t have a bunch of books published. But she talks about the same thing I share with writers whenever I can: Just write.
Judy says, “But I have noticed bestselling authors had something in common. Despite differences in genre, style, voice, settings or character, they developed a writing habit.
“After years of procrastination and fear, that lesson helped me write my first novel and five since.
“When I flounder as a writer, it’s because I’m inconsistent with my daily writing discipline. When I produce my best stories, I rely on that basic lesson from the masters – words on the page.
“I’m almost embarrassed to admit that on my most rewarding and productive writing days, I use a kitchen timer, set for an hour at a time. I track how many hours I actually write — as opposed to time spent Tweeting, Facebooking or wandering around my friends’ blogs.
“You’d think at age fifty-five I wouldn’t need such a trick, but, after all, it took me fifty years to write a novel.”
That’s what caught my attention. I’ve had stories swirl around in my head for years, wrote many of them, even sent out submissions during my 40s, but NEVER TOOK IT SERIOUSLY. My favorite line is “Life gets in the way.”
Well, of course it does. OK, full-time moms with tots and husbands and cooking and cleaning, you can stop laughing. Everyone makes excuses. And they’re all bad. Thing is, when I turned 50, I had the same epiphany. I have to start taking my writing seriously. How did I do that?
Write every day.
I don’t use a kitchen timer and count my words (although that’s a heckuva good idea), but I write. Every day. And I have short story collections and novels to show for it.
But the difference between Judy and me is I haven’t been published. Because I haven’t submitted anything. Not since 2002.
That was 10 years ago. Writing doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s not published. And I am America’s Most Wanted in using every excuse in the book for not submitting stories for publication.
OK, now you know.
As we speak I’m getting feedback on a query letter for a detective novel I’ve written that I hope will see the light of day sometime soon. (Some of the chapters are posted on this blog, as are some other stories. Feel free to read and comment!)
But I’m approaching 55 myself, and I don’t have near the success Judy does.
She’s my inspiration.
And I hope she inspires you, too.
Here’s a link to Judy’s article.
Do you write every day? What are your secrets or tricks?