ConCarolinas 2013: The Most Important Advice

I hope to write a book one day, but I have a problem getting started and never finishing.  I have fourteen novels at various states of completion.  Thanks to conventions, personal networking, and the internet, I have been fortunate enough to be able to have individual conversations with quite a few authors – even some New York Times bestsellers!  Of all the advice I have ever gotten, one of the most valuable and most profound pieces of advice I have received came from both David B. Coe (or DB Jackson as he is also known) and John Hartness in the same day.

I was at ConCarolinas, and I approached David’s table, which was situated next to A.J. Hartley and just down the way from Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Kalayna Price, and John Hartness, who are all wonderful.  I asked when his next book is releasing and he told me (Thieves’ Quarry releases July 2nd, by the way…)  Then he asked if I write.   I had a fan-girl stuttering moment and then replied that I want to write, and I start lots of projects, but I never can seem to pick one to finish.  I explained that I have a computer file stuffed full of good ideas, and not-so-good ideas, but I have never finished a single one.  His advice was so simple and yet so very profound.  He said, “Pick one and finish it.”

Throughout the rest of the Con, those words were on my mind.  Why bother putting in all the effort to learn about the trade if I was never going to finish a book?  I listened for more tidbits of information and heard other good bits of advice, but those words stuck hard.  After another panel, I stopped by the table to visit John Hartness and buy a Read Recklessly t-shirt.  (He has a new anthology out too!)  He asked how I was enjoying the convention, and I blabbered for a while before causally mentioning the earlier conversation with David B. Coe.  John just nodded and said something along the lines of, “Yeah, get your ass in the chair and write.”

Thus, I have really learned a lot about writing from these people, but I believe the best advice I have ever gotten is to just write.  It takes a lot of writing to make a book, and to be honest, one reason I started this blog is to give myself daily assignments for writing.  Will I finish my book?  You bet!  Will it get published?  Well, that’s a whole other ballgame.

For all the aspiring authors out there, keep writing.   That’s what I learned from some of the best, and I am happy to share it with you.


(This is a post from ConCarolinas in 2013 – cross posted from


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