Getting Started

Dreamers Outnumber Starters

As a published author, I’m often asked the question, “How did you get your start?”  On the tip of my tongue is the quick comeback: “I got my start by starting.

Do I actually say that? No. It sounds a little caustic and being caustic is not my style. However, through my 30-plus-years of writing and hanging out with writers, I know for a fact that the dreamers by far outnumber the starters. 

Starting is a good thing. It beats sitting around a-wishin’ and a-hopin’ and a-dreamin’.  Oh and it beats talkin’ as well.

I have a great story about starting. It’s not my story, but it certainly underscores my point.

Foot in the Door

Be A NovelistA young wannabe writer was a horse-lover who lived in Central California. She submitted an article (yes, boys and girls, there was a day when people read magazines, and writers submitted articles by mail) to The Western Horseman entitled “Horse Colic and Your Horse’s Diet.”  Deep subject, right?  It sold. Her foot was in the door with this editor.

Later, she submitted an article idea for interviewing Hollywood stunt men – especially those involved in Westerns. (This was a horse magazine remember.) She received the go-ahead for her idea.

She learned that a double for John Wayne lived in her hometown. She conducted several interviews with this stuntman which resulted in published articles. When she realized he was replete with stories from his career, she suggested he write a book. The aw-shucks cowboy admitted he could never write a book, but invited this young writer to be his ghostwriter.

The Duke Writes the Foreword

The foreword for the resulting book (a successful book by  the way) was written by none other than the Duke himself, John Wayne.  This connection led to the young writer becoming a researcher and writer for Wayne’s Batjac Productions, which changed her life forever.

This writer is none other than Bodie Thoene who with her husband, Brock, have authored more than 45 amazing historical novels.  (Here’s a photo of yours truly with Brock and Bodie — obviously taken many long years ago. They were keynote speakers at the writer’s conference where I served as coordinator for 14 years – the Professionalism in Writing School.)

Be a Novelist

How did this fledgling author by the name of Bodie Thoene get her start? She started. She wasn’t afraid to submit a seemingly insignificant article about how to feed a colicky horse. (More about Brock and Bodie here.)

My StartBe A Novelist

My first article was even smaller and more paltry than one about a colicky horse. But when I received the check, I made a copy of it and framed it. It still hangs on my office wall. It reminds me that I started.

Yes, starting is a good thing. A very good thing.  It builds momentum and kills inertia.

Why not try starting? You can start today!

Be A Novelist


Speaking of starting, here’s a workshop that addresses the challenge of starting your novel. FREE Download.

Find out more right here!


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