How Stephen King and Mark Twain became authors

The Hunger Games, 50 Shades of Grey, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Mob Dick.  

You know what all of these titles have in common?

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They’re books. Great books — as culture has said — but more than being “great,” they all started the same: a single word written on a blank page.

I guess it takes the glamour out of things. The idea of a writer coming up with this magnificent idea, wanting to be published since his or her childhood. The glorious moment of their manuscript being accepted by a New York publisher, or “hitting it big” as a self-published author.

The reality is before Stephen King had a best-seller, or Mark Twain could be known for his work, they pulled out a blank page and inscribed one word at a time.

And if you want to be an author, your path will not be any different.

Jeff Goins, a national best-selling author, always says “writers write.” It seems like a common sense thing to say, but telling yourself, “I am going to write a book one day,” means nothing until “one today” becomes today.

People often say to me, “You have a book, cool! I want to write one. What’s the process?”

I get half-smiles and “stop being sarcastic” looks when I respond: “just write.”

Yes, I know. You want the details of publishing, finding an editor, how do you figure out the design, or how much money you may make. Perhaps you’re wondering who the best publisher is, or if you should publish your book on your own.

But here’s a little secret between you and I: (shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell too many people!) None of those questions matter if you haven’t written anything. Planning to write a book won’t make you an author. Planning to drive didn’t make you a driver, did it? Of course not. You had to get behind the wheel and actually drive.

Writing is the same. Let today be that someday your drive puts the words on the paper. Let today be the day you turn the wheels in your mind on to at least write your book ideas and plot summary.

Until then, writing a book will always be the off-distance plane. Great to see overhead in the clouds, but completely unattainable.

Writers are writers because they write. So stop procrastinating, and do that.