Guest Blogger Bella Andre shares what it takes to get writing.
In the workshops I give to writers, I talk a lot about blocking out the white noise (email, Facebook, phone calls, prolonged internet searches for information you don’t really need to know to write your first draft, etc.) and putting on blinders so you can really give your focus to your book. This advice is a lesson I personally relearn with every single book I write.
That’s the quick and pretty version, but if you pull back the glossy cover, the past 30 months actually look like this:
* Decide to start my new book.
* Do everything but start the book.
* Make more big plans to start the book, for real this time.
* Freak out about not starting the book.
* Tell myself that tackling the non-writing items on my enormous to-do list is important, necessary work, so really, how could I start the book yet?
* Tick through non-writing items on my to-do list and get crankier by the day.
* Force myself to sit down with my laptop and stare at the blank page and not get up until I’ve written at least 1,000 words.
* Finally realize (yet again!) that the number-one thing to help both my career and my peace of mind is sitting down and writing. Every single day. From one book to the next.
Today’s start of Sullivan #12 was no exception. I went through every one of the above steps during the past two weeks until I simply couldn’t stand it anymore. When I woke up this morning, I decided the to-do list could wait. Answering emails could wait. A walk could wait. Eating could wait.
But the book could not.
I truly believe that no matter where you are in your writing career, the book is always the most important thing. For a new writer, finishing your first book will likely require great focus and determination. All you want is to finally get to “The End.” But once your book is out in reader’s hands, the most important thing will always be your next book. I’ve seen again and again, in both my own career and others, that the surefire way to create ongoing success is to write the next book. And the one after that. And the one after that.
Once I finally push myself to start a new book, I always find that’s when the focus finally comes. Fortunately, day by day as I sink deeper into the manuscript, it becomes far easier to block out that white noise and keep focus on the writing.
Happy writing! Bella Andre.
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This “Pep Talk” originally appeared on National Novel Writing Month’s website, nanowrimo.org
Having sold more than 2.5 million self-published books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre’s novels have appeared on Top 5 lists at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s Sullivan series are being released in paperback in a major global English language launch in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia in continuous back-to-back releases from June 2013 through April 2014. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into nine languages, and her Sullivan books are already Top 20 bestsellers in Brazil. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her “One of the top digital writers in America” and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently in TIME Magazine. She has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success.
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