I know the secret to writing.
No, it’s not a strong hook, creating unforgettable characters, or even mastering the narrative craft. These things help, of course. As does an in-depth dissection of The Fugitive and Casablanca. But the secret for me, my friends, is simple: treat myself write.
Treat: Last weekend, I packed my family into the ole’ Prius and drove south for a three-day writing workshop. For almost 8 hours each day, I was inundated with technical writing advice on plot and structure (James Scott Bell is amazing). I was engulfed by eclectic energy and a camaraderie fueled by a shared goal to become a better writer. It was like being in a theme park with no lines (ah hem, a real treat).
Myself: Most aspiring writers agree, this endeavor is at times downright selfish. If it weren’t for incredibly supportive spouses, family, and friends – I’d venture to say the whole thing would go Circuit City on us (um, gone). Dedicating an entire long weekend to writing (for writers with intense day jobs, the weekend represents the very little quality family time we have) was undoubtedly a tall ask. It was selfish, in so many ways. But I asked and they obliged, so I took advantage of it. For the first time in my writing career, I treated myself to an entire weekend of writing.
Write: Right. Write. On the last day, Sunday, the conference room next door was occupied by a church group. Song and music broke through the dividing wall. I saw the light. It all clicked – writing is a Rocky proposition, so treating the writer in me right is absolutely critical in this whole thing. By stepping into the workshop, with the support of my family, I confirmed my attendance in a game that I very much enjoy.
I did myself a solid. And if that is indeed the secret, one thing is for sure, the hook is on me.