Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Writer Mantra for 2012

I listened to an interview recently with New York Times best-selling author Caroline Leavitt  (“Pictures of You” is her most recent award-winner) and was struck by something she said toward the end of the show. She was talking about how important it is to know the rules but not be so bound by them that you can’t move forward.

  “Be brave,” she said.

Caroline seems to be a most gentle soul, but it was as though she’d reached through the speakers and slapped me.

Be brave. Her words made me realize that the reason I’ve been practically immobilized in my efforts to get my current manuscript done is… fear. Fear that this sophomore effort will be, well, sophomoric. Fear that my agent will hate it, fear that my editor will be disappointed, fear that the publishing company that took a chance on me will regret that decision. Fear that my first readers, my wife and kids, will hand the manuscript back to me with sad, nice-try eyes. Call it one-hit wonder fear. Flash-in-the-pan fear.

Be brave. What I heard was, “Shut everything else out. Focus solely on writing the best story you possibly can. Have the guts to write what you want… and the cajones to finish the job.”

Caroline Leavitt
Be brave. My mantra for 2012.

Thanks, Caroline.


  1. I love your post. Thanks to you for taking up the gauntlet!


  2. Thank YOU, Caroline. Priceless advice.

  3. Hi Caroline, I studied with you years ago at UCLA Extension. What a thorough course you teach. Write on, teach on my friend.

  4. So glad you are inspired to write from your heart and your fantastic, creative mind. Let it rip! Thanks to Caroline for loosening a few more screws so more of the good stuff can come out!
    Liz C

  5. Liz, I'm told that I already have a few loose screws.

  6. Jim, I was in the midst of my own writing and having all kinds of trouble moving past another difficult scene in MORNING SUN. Then a voice told me to visit you here. I listened. Thank you for this post and sharing the wisdom of Caroline Leavitt.

    Be brave.

    I loved Bill Warrington's Last Chance, and I know your second book will be just as awesome.

    Time to return to the page and be brave.


  7. Mia, I'm with you. One day I feel like I've made a breakthrough, the next feels like I've run into a brick wall.

    Can't wait to read MORNING SUN. So keep going!