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The One Thing You Need to be a Real Author- and it’s not Talent!

My friends enjoy talking about writing. I enjoy talking about writing. Recently, I got to meet up with some lovely authors who are with my publisher, and we had a jolly time chatting about everything from family and holidays to writing and inspiration. It was all so normal, for someone to say ‘oh yeah, that actually features in my next book!’

It’s a well known adage in the self-improvement world that you should surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you- who want what you want. It keeps you motivated, keeps you positive and driven.

A few times over the last couple of weeks, whilst I’ve been pulling my hair out being past my deadline on my current WIP, people have asked my HOW I write. And it sounds like an arsehole answer, but you sit down and do it.

A few friends have pointed out that they have brilliant ideas, but never get around to writing it. Maybe they don’t feel they can do the idea justice, maybe it’s just too complex.

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I am going to be honest with you:

I do not have the best ideas. I write about what I like. I write the sort of stuff I read. I steal things from life without even realising until later. I am not a genius. My ideas are not new and daring and unusual.

What makes me an author? I am persistent. I write a book until I finish it, even if it’s crap. Then I do what Steven King said, and I put it away in the drawer for a while (a long while if it really is crap!) and then later I bring it out and I fix it.

There is no talent in this. There is no particular skill, or craft, or anything beyond sitting down at a desk and doing what my job demands of me. That is what you have to think about. It is all very well having wonderful ideas, and being very clever. But your choice there is clear: do you want to write snippets of very clever things that give you joy, or do you want to sell books?

Sometimes, you can do both. And I’m not denying there’s craft involved, and you need ideas. But the truth is, if you can block out doubt, block out anything else that would stop you, and just rely on persistence, you can be an author.

An author is just someone who has written a book. And when you’ve done it once, you know you can do it again. So why not write one crappy book, learn that you are capable, and then trust that the second one will be better?

Talent and ideas are not what you need: just sit down and write.

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