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What's An Aspiring Author To Do?

This column is based on questions Margaret gets asked by those who also want to write romance novels. The answers are based on her personal experience. Every author must and should find their own way along this path; however, sometimes it helps to know how it was for an author who's reached the goal of publication.

This column's question:
I've figured out the story I want to write. Now what?

Margaret answers:
Write the book.

I think at this point, you have to find out if you're capable of completing a full manuscript. The path to publication is littered with those who thought that writing is "easy," especially a short contemporary romance. It's not. Writing any book takes time, effort, dedication, and yes, talent. But many talented people simply give up when they realize just how much time, effort and dedication a person needs to finish a manuscript.

And there's another reason: if you're a previously unpublished author, you won't get offered a contract unless you submit an entire manuscript. Editors need to know that you're capable of finishing a book, too.

It took me about two years to write my first book, because I had only an hour a day to write, while my youngest was in nursery school. I know writers who got up before dawn to write before they were published, or stayed up very late. I know writers with small children, including some with special needs, and some with family troubles that could have overwhelmed them completely, who somehow found the time to write. That's the one thing that all published authors have in common.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Need some inspiration? If you only did a page a day (or approximately 250 words) for a year, that'd get you 365 pages, enough for a first draft of a historical romance or a long contemporary.

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This material is Margaret's intellectual property. If you would like to print it out for your personal use, feel free. If you belong to a writing group and would like to reproduce it for your fellow writers, please e-mail Margaret at maggiejmoore @ (no spaces). All other use is prohibited.

Copyright © 2005 by Margaret Wilkins. This material may not be copied without permission.