{pages}:a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, CA. Join me July 1 at 7pm for a free workshop on navigating the path to publishing.

{pages}:a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, CA. Join me July 1 at 7pm for a free workshop on navigating the path to publishing.

I received an email this week from a person whom I shall call Elton.  “I'm happy to have found you but nervous to write this little note,” he wrote. He’d written a manuscript that got some good attention (positive agent responses, requests for a full read, inquiries about movie options) but he never followed through on any of it. The story needed a little work and he was too scared to move forward. He stopped and let the book sit… for a year. He wrung his hands. He watched the clock tick. But now he thought maybe he was ready to try again. 

“Do you have any services that can help me….see if I can get unstuck and unafraid to continue this pursuit?” he asked.
 
I loved this email because it summed up so much of what the writing process is about. You can spend all day working on designing a good structure for your book, evaluating the competition, honing your message, getting your story down, polishing your sentences to a high shine, researching agents, sending out pitches and strategizing ways to reach your reader, but what really stands between you and success is finding a way to become unstuck and unafraid.
 
Maybe you do that alone in a room every day, maybe you do that with a writing group once a week or with a mentor or a book coach – but no matter how you do it, find a way to do it. It’s the key element. It’s the secret sauce.
 
It’s why I know without a shadow of a doubt that Elton will finish his book and find a way to get it into the hands of readers. It’s why I wanted to cheer, even though Elton was, to me, a perfect stranger.
 
And what I told him was -- well, first of all, yes, I do have services to help with that. It is my great pleasure to not only teach people about dialogue and structure and rhythm and story, but to help them learn how to be unstuck and unafraid. But what I said second was even more important: if Elton's book was as honest, authentic and authoritative and deep as his email, he was already home free.

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