Wednesday, November 30, 2005



I get letters from fans all the time.  I always try to answer them.  Here’s one I received shortly before I left on my publicity tour.  I told her I’d answer her question in my blog,

Dear Loraine,
   I am interested in how to get started writing a book. I want to tell my story. I was head teacher at my school. I was in the system for 33 years. I retired last year. I have been a very successful teacher in this community. I  had some interesting experiences  during my teaching career. I have always been well respected. I have always wondered if I would have been as successful had my situation been reversed. I want to write a book. I have kept a journal some through the years but I just cannot seem to get going. I was a reading and language art teacher. I was always very good at motivating students to write. I know what the process is all about. Do you  have some advise? Your Fan M---

Dear M---

You way you were good at motivating others.  Maybe you need someone to motivate you.  It’s very hard to write for the wind, to go into a little room all alone, sit down to an empty page and write for what, for whom?  It’s hard even if you have wonderful stories to tell.  

Perhaps you could take a class or join a workshop.  Years ago, I wrote some award-winning poetry while simply trying to show off at a poetry workshop in New Orleans.  

When I began writing screenplays I needed a partner, someone to show up and be brilliant for.  None of those screenplays were ever produced, but I used one as a sample and got my first TV assignment.  After that, there were producers and agents counting on me.  I had plenty of motivation.  It was either write or get fired.  

I still thought of myself as a screenwriter, when began my first novel, but I was burned out from years of pleasing producers and network executives.  So to get the juices flowing again, I took a creative writing class in the mountains around Los Angeles.  As the character of Sissy LeBlanc began to take shape, I was able to bring in pages and get feedback.  I still consult other writers when I have a creative problem.  We take these story conferences very seriously.

If you don’t want to join with other writers and can’t get yourself to go into that little room by yourself day after day, don’t worry.  There are only two reasons for writing: for the sheer creative pleasure or for money.   Never feel guilty about living your life instead of writing about it.  

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