Saturday, October 04, 2008

Insight Into A Bestselling Author

Last week, Forbes released their list of the earning power of the top book authors. You can follow this link to learn more of the specifics. In this entry, I want to pick up on some characteristics of the 10th author on that top 10 list: Nicholas Sparks.

The October 10th issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived in my mailbox yesterday with a terrific article about Nicholas Sparks called True Believer by Karen Valby. The lead-in to the article says, "you don't write 14 best-sellers in 14 years by accident. Inside the relentless, romantic, exhausting, and critic-proofing plan of Nicholas Sparks.

I'd encourage you use the link to read the entire article about Sparks but in particular for this entry on The Writing Life, I want to pick up on one paragraph:

''I'm efficient,'' he [Nicholas] clarifies, with an amused smile. On his official website, the numerically specific description of the author — ''He's 5'10'' and weighs 180 pounds. He is an avid athlete who runs daily, lifts weights regularly, and competes in tae kwon do. He attends church regularly and reads approximately 125 books a year'' — squares with his similarly methodical approach to writing. A novel takes him a few months to conceive and then five months to write. He sets a daily goal for himself of 2,000 words. He writes for five to six hours a day and types approximately 60 words a minute, which he says leaves him with 54 minutes an hour to stare at the computer and six minutes to actually write. ''See,'' he says, with a friendly shrug of his shoulders, ''it's not an unbelievable pace.''

There is a great deal packed into this paragraph. Notice his commitment to regular exercise. This value is something that wasn't a part of my life for many years but now it is a part of my regular routine. Anyone who "follows" me on Twitter can see that I regularly get on my treadmill for exercise. It helps my overall health, brings new ideas and energy into my schedule. It's something I recommend for you to think about and commit to fitting into your own writing life.

Also notice Nicholas Sparks regularly attends church. In a similar way the spiritual connection is a key component of my own writing life--and again something I mention from time to time on Twitter.

In addition, Nicholas Sparks understands the value of reading. His website includes a reading list with some of his favorites. I'm also constantly reading fiction and nonfiction books in a variety of areas. This information feeds into my own writing and editorial work on a daily basis. It's another key element that you need to be aware of for your writing life. Are you committed to reading and absorbing new information or books?

Finally notice the discipline involved in his writing pattern and goal of 2,000 words each day. It's common when many writers are producing a manuscript or an article to set a word count goal for themselves. The old saying is true: if you aim at nothing you will be sure to hit it. What steps can you take today to move forward and achieve your own writing goals? I'd encourage you to learn some of these key lessons from Nicholas Sparks.

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6 Comment:

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Mike Dellosso Left a note...

Terry, thanks for bringing this article to our attention. Like his writing or not, Sparks is a success and we would all do well to learn from his example. Discipline pays off!

At 9:30 AM, Blogger BonnieRose Left a note...

great article! I recently bought ur book on book proposals.. so far, loving it, i am in the midst of writing my first book ms, and after reading about Mr. Sparks.. I write a lot like he does.. the writing just comes.. and for the other mins, I mull around words and sentences in my head. my social networking site regarding my writing pursuits is here, www.alifeunrehearsed.ning.com

my daily blog is pvt access only. email me if u wud like an invite!

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Karen Harrington Left a note...

Great article! Thanks for sharing this perspective - one that all writers need to hear.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger angela Left a note...

Discipline is the key to success. Mr. Sparks and others like him prove that. A much needed reminder to us all.

At 5:02 AM, Blogger Anthony James Barnett Left a note...

An excellent article. Glad of the insight. I just wish my own efforts produced the same results !!!


At 11:42 AM, Blogger Praise and Coffee Left a note...

Thanks, that's just the kick I need.


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