Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tip O'Day #363 - The Secret Is...

Guest blogger Troy Lambert divulges the Writing Secret.

There is some belief that what a writer does is somehow mysterious. That there is some secret formula, some secret ingredient you get when you join the author club (secret handshake and decoder ring included) that somehow makes you a better writer than the rest. I am going to share with you the secret. No club dues needed. Free, today only, right here.

The secret is to sit down and write. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. Right now. I am sure you have read enough books about writing—we all did in the beginning and we still do from time to time. We need to refresh and to hone our craft. These books have value, and reading them should be a part of your writing life. It is like continuing education for a nurse or a doctor. Without it, progress passes you by. But the one thing you must do every day without fail, no matter where you are, is write.

I used to teach skiing and I had a saying: “There is no substitute for time on the snow.” We talked about skiing, we watched movies about it, and we studied it in books. Sounds like writing, huh? (Have you seen Misery or Bag of Bones?) Writers attend conferences and seminars (even the dreaded webinar from time to time). Like skiing though, there is no substitute for time at the keyboard. It doesn’t matter if you are writing a letter, a short story, making progress on your novel, or even writing a blog post. (Yes, this counts.)

Between technical writing and professional research (some for my day job, yes I am a lucky guy) and the fiction writing I do, I average about five hours of writing every day. That does not count marketing, education, or anything else writing related. Add those in, and being a writer is a full time job and then some. I work an average of 70 hours a week. I also made three times what the average writer does last year.

Am I getting rich? Nope, even though my novel Redemption is doing rather well (you really should check it out). My short story collection Broken Bones continues to sell also and I am being hounded by fans to finish the sequel to Redemption titled Temptation. I am working on another research contract and will be at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Conference in Seattle at the end of July (if you are coming you should drop me a line or stop in and say hi).

Meanwhile, you have spent enough time reading this post. Get back to writing. After all, that’s what writers should do most.

Troy released Broken Bones, a collection of short stories, in 2011 and a new thriller titled Redemption came out earlier this year. You can learn more about this writer at his Amazon page or his blog.

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