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The Secret to Writing
I have a friend who has enjoyed a long successful career
as a published novelist. More than once we took part in
the same panel at a writer's conference. Whenever it came
time to field questions from the audience I came to
expect -- actually anticipate -- that some bright-eyed,
eager novice would direct a particular question at my
friend. It wasn't so much the question that I anticipated
as her answer.
The question would always be some variation of "What
is the secret to your success?" We all knew it would
happen and we would always sit back and let my friend
handle it. Not only because she was the most successful
among us, but because she had the best answer.
My friend would always play to the audience. She'd lean
forward conspiratorially, check to make sure the doors
were closed, and swear the audience to secrecy. Then
she'd repeat the question and pause for a few dramatic
heartbeats and answer: "The BIC Method!"
Those of us in on the secret would begin to grin at this
point, but it wasn't until she explained the BIC method
that the other writers would get the joke. You see BIC
stands very simply for Butt In Chair.
Yes, her writing success is that simple. Placing her
bottom on the chair in front of her computer and writing
every day -- whether or not she was in the mood, whether
or not she was motivated, whether or not she was
inspired, and whether or not she had a paid writing gig.
Regular writing improves the quality of your writing by
giving you the chance to hone your skills and experiment
with new methods. Writing regularly also generates
greater quantity -- in two ways. First, obviously simply
disciplining yourself to generate two or four or ten
pages a day will quickly add up in quantity, but the more
disciplined you become about this regular production the
easier it will be to achieve your minimum and you can
keep step up your daily goal accordingly.
Improving the quality of your writing and generating more
writing projects gives you that much more to market to
the reading and publishing public and therefore increases
your chances of writing success.
It really is that simple and it really isn't a secret.
Most successful writers know the BIC method is key to
Of course some of those eager-beaver beginners don't want
to believe in the BIC method because it actually involves
work and discipline. They'd rather believe it was as
simple as dreaming up a catchy pseudonym. But if you have
become a writer because you love it then the BIC method
is the best possible news. Simply keep on doing what you
love and you can make your dreams come true.
Deanna Mascle publishes the writing newsletter Word Craft Online and writing site Answers About
Writing where you can also find her free "Challenge
Your Muse" writing prompts and exercises. She
has published three novels; written and edited numerous
newspapers, magazines, books, and online publications;
and teaches writing. You can read more writing advice in her blog.
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