February 2, 2017 @ 8:22 PM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer:

Step 1 (continued) … Perspiration.


We writers might all wish that our books came in a flash of inspired intuition. But alas they don't. Most of my military history books have taken years to complete, and gallons of perspiration.

The Story of Billy Young, for instance, was seven years in development from the first idea to the finished publication in 2012.

For Love of Country took five years.

I first went to see the family it concerns in March 2011, where I discovered the very rich archive of letters, diaries, photographs and memorabilia stored in boxes – and Pam Yonge’s generosity in making it available to me.

Half a decade later, in March 2016, Pam and I sat on the stage together as our book was launched.

My current project, a convict story, is still waiting after ten years.

Twice I put it off to concentrate on Billy Young and For Love of Country. Now it’s the convict’s turn: although, having decided to take an extended break from new writing this year to let the creative batteries recharge, I won’t get properly started on his story until about September.

He can wait.

But the sheer amount of time involved in researching, writing and producing a finished book makes it even more important that the idea is a strong one in the first place. Something that is so compulsive and worthwhile for the author, that it will sustain you through the long, hard yards ahead.

And if it won’t? Well, go back to the primary questions in this first step (#11): Do I really need to write this book? Does the world want it?

Next: The second step