Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday Review—I Want a Magic Bullet

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.

Or…had there?

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.

They wrote.

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.

Just write.

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.


  1. Love this tongue-in-cheek look at what it takes. But you made a powerful point. Write.

    And I'm so got to hang out with those great writers.

  2. That's my one and only secret. But, after 21 years and 30-mumble, mumble, mumble books later, that magic bullet would be very helpful so please let me know what it is ;) It was so much fun getting to know you, and you fit right in.

  3. That's my one and only secret. But, after 21 years and 30-mumble, mumble, mumble books later, that magic bullet would be very helpful so please let me know what it is ;) It was so much fun getting to know you, and you fit right in.

  4. This was funny AND helpful, Lynn. Thanks for the laugh and the kick where I needed it most. :)

  5. What a fun article, Lynn! I definitely hear humor in your voice, so I think that's your magic bullet. :)

    It was so fun to get to know you and the others better. What a fantastic week. I hope to head back to SC soon and will definitely take you up on another amazing breakfast at Java Bistro!

  6. Unbelievably simple and effective--just write--who would have thought! Thanks for the laugh and the nudge!

  7. Cute post. Before or after publication, the story is the same: Write!

  8. LOVE this--and LOVED getting to meet you finally! So awesome. And funny. I'm looking forward to next time.

    You're so right--just WRITE! I've had to tell myself that a lot this week. Oy!

  9. Thank you, Lynn. Once I got over my jealousy I was able to take in your advice. TTFN as I head back to WRITE. :-D

  10. Fabulous post, Lynn ... it's funny how we all tend to search for the magic elixir (I know I do) and it all comes down to hard work! Just write.

    But wonderful you were able to enjoy such company when working so hard & you got to drink coffee & eat fresh brownies.

  11. I was afraid that was the "secret." :) Great post, Lynn.

  12. Right on the mark, Lynn! Glad you found your 'Silver Bullet!' THE SECRET!
    Just write,..
    Sheri D

  13. What does TTFN stand out? Not knowing the meaning? Please inform the uniformed?

  14. Hi Everyone! I'm just coming up for air after the holiday weekend and wanted to say thank you for all the great comments. I'm hoping to churn out a thousand words this afternoon...we'll see how it goes!

    And Sheri - TTFN = ta ta for now. :-)