Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Key to Writing Success Could Be Just One Thing

Did you ever see the 1991 Billy Crystal comedy “City Slickers”? And if you did, do you remember it?

Because there’s one scene I want you to think about.

It was the film’s key moment: Crystal’s city-slicker character, Mitch Robbins, and Jack Palance’s Curly were riding along on horseback, side by side, when Mitch suddenly asked:

“What is it that makes life really matter and how do you know when you've found it?”

Curly, the grizzled cowboy, held up one index finger and grinned.

“Only one thing,” he said and stopped right there.

To which the utterly puzzled Mitch responded:

“What is it?”

Curly looked him straight in the eyes and with something between a wink and a knowing nod said:

“That’s what you have to figure out.”

And that, my friends, is what I’d like for all of you to try to figure out.

What “one thing”—and only ONE THING—do you really want out of your writing career?

What’s your ultimate wish?

Do you want to be a newspaper columnist, a best-selling novelist, a magazine feature writer, a poet published in literary journals, a screenwriter selling scripts to major studios?

And if you can, get even more specific:

A columnist for the New York Times.

A best-selling mystery novelist.

A feature writer for Esquire.

A poet published in The New Yorker.

A screenwriter making movies for Paramount.

And once you decide what that one singular goal is, WRITE IT DOWN on a piece of paper. And keep that piece of paper in a place you can always see it.

In other words, make your dream concrete. Make it alive in your head. And make it your driving purpose, hurling every sliver of your creative energy and determination and talent toward making that “one thing” happen.

One thing.

That may be the secret for you and your writing life.

Good luck!

Best always and stay positive,

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