By: Alan Rinzler
Today we have some sage advice for writers from a proven practitioner of the art and craft of literary commerce who’s had a successful career as a writer for more than 50 years.
Warren Adler has published more than 32 novels and short story collections, including The War of the Roses, which was made into the devastatingly funny movie starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. That story, incidentally, grew out of an overheard conversation. More on that below. Adler studied writing at the New School with fellow students Mario Puzzo and William Styron.
I’ve spent my whole life writing, thinking about writing and publishing, and, lately, about the dramatic changes taking place in the way we communicate with each other and how it impacts our future as writers.
So here’s where I am these days on the most important things to remember if you want to succeed.
• Never give up
Deciding to be a writer may be impractical, unwise, foolish, pure madness, but if you believe in yourself, why not, as Lewis Carroll wrote, “go on until the end, and then stop.”
To be a writer requires a healthy ego, total self-confidence in your talent, and an unshakeable belief that you have been anointed with the right stuff. You’ll need obsessive focus, a draconian ruthlessness and total devotion to a belief in your artistic ability. Fancy words, I know, but with the absence of luck, you will need these attributes to sustain you through the process.
What this means for real authors is that we must continue to soldier on — keep writing, keep trying, taking the increasingly painful hits of rejection after rejection until, well, until someone out there catches on…or doesn’t. We’re all waiting for Godot. Sometimes he comes.
• Eavesdropping for story ideas
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