Monday, July 20, 2015

#1 Writing Tip from a Master


I've been doing a lot of research lately - schoolin' myself on self-publishing and just writing in general. I decided to take the James Patterson Masterclass  on writing bestselling fiction.

It's $90, which isn't a huge expenditure considering how much you can shell out for writing coaching - but it's still enough that I put it off.

But the ad just kept popping up in my email - taunting me, luring me, calling out to me. Yes, you can do it, Sheri ... You can do it ... You can write a bestseller ... but you need this class to make it happen. Do it ... do it ... doooooo it ....


Finally, the spirits have been listening to my money spells (I'm writing a book about witches, so yes, I've been learning about spells), and I got some Yd recently (disposable income). The first thing I did was sign up for Patterson's Masterclass.

I don't know where you stand on JP's books. But there's no question that after writing about 700 consecutive #1 NYT bestsellers, this fella knows how to hook a reader. Or twenty million, as the case may be. He's the bestselling author in the world right now.

So I'm going to share what I've been learning in the class here in the blog. I'm not sure how that goes in terms of copyright. There weren't any warnings from the FBI or anything. If you've got the Yd to actually buy the class yourself, I'd totally recommend it.

Because he's a really cool guy. Inspiring, confident, no BS. There's no question he's a superb storyteller - not just in print, but to watch and listen to. And the class is well produced and so easy to use. A pleasure to use, actually. Easy to download and navigate, lovely to look at, simple to follow. There are about 22 lessons altogether. I've done the first eight or so.

I'm just going to share the tips that meant the most to me from each lesson. I'm pretty sure Mr. Patterson doesn't need the Yd, so I'm hoping I don't see any cease and desist orders from his schmancy lawyers. Like I said, if you can afford it - take the class!

He starts the whole thing by introducing himself as Stephen King. Bah ha ha ha ha! He does that to let you know that the class is going to be irreverent. Which I liked. He's actually very entertaining - especially for writers who salivate over every morsel of info and encouragement about writing they can find.

LESSON #1: PASSION AND HABIT

Patterson says you're lucky if you find something in life that you love. It's a miracle if you can actually get paid for it. Obviously, he knows what he's talking about because he gets paid very much.

His first warning is this: if you don't like the act of writing, don't write. Give it up. You won't finish the book. You'll just get discouraged and quit. You absolutely HAVE to be passionate about writing.

(Check.)

I actually tweeted this quote from him - "Don't write a book because you want to. Write it because you have to."

And if I could figure out how to attach the Twitter widget for Blogger, you might already know that. In the technology-challenged meantime, I'm @SLMcInnis (I'm going for the more serious initials thing, instead of my first name. 'Sheri' just seems a bit lightweight for a supernatural thriller. Thanks Mom!) Anyway, I'd love you to follow me and I'll do the same for you.

But here's his absolute number one rule of writing. This is the #1 tip from the #1 biggest author on the planet.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

This tip is so important it got its own subheading - all caps. Believe in yourself. No matter how much rejection or how many obstacles you face. His first book - The Thomas Berryman Number - was rejected by 31 publishers. But when it finally did go to print in 1976, it won the Edgar Award for best first novel by an American.

So Patterson is adamant about not letting rejection get you down.

Believing in yourself is soooo important. I know that. I spent years - thousands and thousands of days - worrying that I'd never get published. And even though it didn't end in the bestseller I'd hoped for - I still jumped that hurdle. I got published. Twice. Even though I never thought it could happen.

Feeling insecure, worried, afraid - or experiencing rejection time and again - is no indication that you're never going to get published. You just can't give up. If you have the passion to write, you have to be able to ENDURE REJECTION. That little hint got a separate all caps heading too.

So try not to worry so much. Focus, focus. Focus on what you want. Not what you're afraid of.

More from the master next time ...

And oh yeah - mandatory blog 'call to action:' PLEASE FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. @SLMcInnis. And tell me how to put a GD Twitter widget on my blog! Or write sherimcinnis@gmail.com. Or comment!

And don't forget the #1 Lesson. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. All caps.