by Lynn H. Blackburn
I want a magic bullet.
Somewhere there’s a book, a routine, maybe a diet, or even an outfit. Somewhere, there’s one thing I’m missing and when I find it, my publishing dreams will come true!
In my quest for the elixir of publishing success, I had a rare opportunity to do some extensive research. I got to hang out with four published authors as they wrote, brainstormed, and it must be said, consumed copious amounts of coffee and loaded grits.
I tried to act cool about it. (Heavy emphasis on the word act, because I’ve never been cool in my entire life). But secretly, I was watching. Surely over the space of several days, one of them would slip up and reveal the source of their publishing power.
First, I thought it might be related to coffee/caffeine consumption. Truth be told, this crew didn’t hold back. I made the mistake of ordering a medium iced vanilla latte. Poor thing looked like a waif surrounded by the very large, iced, sugar-free syrup laden concoctions ordered by my new friends. But, and this is a big but, one very prolific and successful author not only doesn’t drink coffee, she doesn’t even drink caffeine! She consumed water and decaffeinated tea. So much for that idea.
Then I started watching what they ate. If you’re seeking publication, I can safely say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Lunch, however, can be ignored in favor of a pan of fresh brownies. Unfortunately, their meal selections were too varied to give me a clear picture of that one super food that will inspire creativity and ensure success. (Word to the wise…try omelets and/or grits. It can’t hurt!)
I thought I might need the right technology. Mac or PC? Nope. Both were represented. iPhone or Galaxy? Sorry. Can’t help you. I saw it all and it seemed to be working fine for everyone. Which is disappointing because I was hoping to use that argument to score a MacBook. Sigh.
Then I wondered if the key is in genre selection. Again, no. If I could have put text bubbles over their heads, all manner of voices, time periods, and scenes would have floated in the air. (I considered crafting a tinfoil hat in hopes of absorbing the creative vibes in the room, but, as previously noted, I was going for cool, not supernerd).
I confess that when I said goodbye to my new BFFs, I felt a tad frustrated. I’d spent hours with them and not one of them had slipped up. There’d been no peek behind the wizard’s curtain.
I’d watched four writers, sitting in recliners, on couches, at tables.
Every last one of them. They did it for hours. During the day. Late into the night.
If you’re like me, and not-so-secretly searching for the magic bullet that will ensure success, look no further.
I already found it.
Deepest gratitude to Lynette Eason for opening her home, and to Ginny Aiken, Ronie Kendig, and Missy Tippens for saving me a corner of the couch and a seat at the table. Truly, it was an honor and a privilege. Next time, Java Bistro’s on me!
Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her still unpublished novels. She drinks a lot of coffee.