Author of psychological thrillers
I’m working on my third and fourth novels right now, and in some ways, I think I’m starting to get the hang of what this gig is all about. I’m not saying I know everything, nor do I think I ever will. Life is all about the learning curves, and the only time we stop riding them is after we die. But I’m at a stage now where, because I’ve put on some miles, I’m able to look back at the road and see things with more clarity. Of course, everyone’s journey is different and experiences will vary, but here’s what mine has taught me so far:
Follow your heart and everything else will follow right along.
I was once at writer’s conference. They were talking about how to sell lots and lots of books. When the speaker opened the discussion to the audience, I raised my hand, and when he called on me, I said:
“Don't you think if you follow your passion everything else will fall into place naturally?”
“Are you bull$h#ing me?” he said.
“No,” I replied, shrinking into my seat. “Why?”
He rolled his eyes and called on the next person.
But regardless of the less-than-enthusiastic reception, I still hold firm to that belief. In fact, I believe it now more than ever, and I’ve used it to guide me through every decision. I write about what inspires me, even when logic or “the rules” tell me otherwise. I allow my passion for writing to lead the way. So far, it hasn’t failed me. When you do what you love, and keep doing it on a consistent basis, success is bound to happen.
My readers owe me nothing, but I owe them everything.
Make no mistake about this: whatever success I’ve had thus far, I owe to the people who have chosen to pick up my books and read them. Yes, talent can be a good thing, but it will only get you so far. If you want people to read your work, you need readers. The choices these days are mind boggling, and I’m grateful as hell to anyone who spends their hard earned money or precious time on my work. I will always be thankful to my readers, never take them for granted or lose sight of how much they mean to me, and I will always strive to give them the absolute best I can offer.
Trust The Process
Writing a novel is a journey. Sometimes it’s bumpy, sometimes it’s invigorating, and yes, sometimes it’s just a plain old pain in the rear. But it’s all part of The Process, and it’s all necessary. There is a purpose for everything, and I’ve learned that if I allow it to occur, good or bad, I'll be just fine. I’ve also learned that the more I resist, the more I tend to get in my own way, so I do my best to avoid that pitfall. It’s all about allowing The Process to do its work.
I write because I have to.
I often get caught up in the numbers game, on selling books; most of us do, but I’ve found that's the very moment I start to make myself miserable and unhappy. It never fails. On the other hand, when I forget about all that and focus on my writing--what I love--I remember again why I got into this business in the first place; it's because I have to write. Yes, sales are wonderful validation for hard work, but the real validation comes every time I start a fresh new page and watch my story and my characters come to life. Nothing else can compare. Nope, not even big sales numbers. Yes, I know...we also have to pay the bills, but let's be honest, if that's what it were all about, we would have chosen a career with much more stability.
I will never stop learning, never stop improving
Because the moment I think I’m too good to do better will be the exact moment I fail. There will always be room for improvement in my work, and to be honest, for me, that’s part of the magic. There's nothing better than seeing my skills stretch to new heights, and I never want to stop experiencing that feeling. To grow is to live life to the fullest.
What about you? What has your journey taught you? It doesn’t have to be about writing books; it’s about life.