I’m a long time admirer of author Kate White, hailing back to my days of reading Cosmo, prior to her books. So I was just delighted when she offered to do a guest blog for me, and then this arrived; a personalized piece, a gift to be treasured! And for all you aspiring writers bitten by the procrastination bug – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
BookBitch Guest Blog
by Kate White
I love “The Book Bitch” and find it a great source for new books to devour, but it wasn’t until I was invited to submit a guest blog that I clicked on the nav bar’s “about” button and really read up on the fabulous bitch herself, Stacy. I was delighted when I started the sentence that began with, “My dream is to write a book that will be published one day…” but then dismayed when Stacy went on to say that she lacked the 3 D’s: drive, determination and discipline.
Stacy, I can sooo relate. Though I had a great career in magazines, I longed to write fiction, too, but for years and years I just I dragged my heels. I’d set aside entire Saturdays to work on my first novel but would end up spending the entire day avoiding the task and instead puttered endlessly, occasionally attacking noble tasks like organizing my underwear drawer or cleaning out my wallet. I was convinced it meant I wasn’t meant to be a writer. But then finally, when I was in my forties, I adopted a new strategy and ended up writing my first book…and then another…and another…. My ninth mystery, Eyes on You, just came out this month. I really feel that many would-be writers who are stuck actually have the drive and determination. What they lack is only that third D, discipline. And that, I believe, CAN be remedied.
Stacy, I want to share the little trick that made all the difference for me, a trick that I bet will work for you, too–as well as for other aspiring writers. (Excuse me if I’m starting to sound like Dr. Oz hyping a “miracle weight loss herb,” but this strategy definitely is a winner.)
When I was trying to get a handle on my procrastination problems, I came across a very helpful book by a time- management guru named Ed Bliss. He said that we often put off meaningful projects because we make them too darn daunting. He suggested cutting down those kinds of projects into small slices or steps, the way you might slice up an unappetizing chunk of salami to make more presentable (thus the reason for the name: “slice-the-salami-technique”). That way you are far less likely to avoid the project. The bigger discipline is as an issue for you, the smaller the slices need to be.
(Interestingly my fitness and yoga instructor told me something similar. She said that after the Christmas holidays, the people who sign up for three classes a week are far less likely to still be working out in May than those who signed up for only one class per week. The bottom line: don’t bite off more than you can chew.)
After years of being a lard ass about my writing, I decided to apply the salami technique. I told myself that rather than putting aside a whole Saturday to work, I’d write for only 15 minutes—and I’d do the same on Sunday. There was no way I could resist. And a funny thing happened. Over time the pages piled up. And I gradually learned to write more frequently and for longer stretches. For instance, I worked on Eyes on You for at least four hours a day, seven days a week.
Stacy, I sense you have a fantastic idea inside you bursting to break out and you truly do have the drive and determination. So just try slicing the salami and you will conquer the third D.
And one other discovery I made. I’ve come to believe in something I call “the writer’s cocktail,” a mix of ingredients that make the whole process smoother. For me, the cocktail means writing early in the morning on a flat, empty surface. With this approach the words flow so much better than they did when I tried to write at night on a roll-top desk. Experiment. Find your cocktail!
I can’t wait to read your book!!
About the author:
Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of nine works of fiction—six Bailey Weggins mysteries and three suspense novels, including, Eyes on You (June 2014). For fourteen years she was the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate full time on being an author.
Her books have received starred reviews from a variety of publications and she has been covered everyplace from The Today Show to The New York Times. Her first Bailey Weggins mystery, If Looks Could Kill, was named as the premier Reading with Rippa selection and soon shot to number one on Amazon. (And it’s now being made into an opera!). She is published in 18 countries around the world.
Kate is currently editing the Mystery Writers of America cookbook, a selection of recipes from many of the top-selling authors.
Like many mystery writers, Kate fell in love with the genre after reading her first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of Redgate Farm, and she still admires those cliffhanger endings that “Carolyn Keene” created.
She is married and the mother of two children, and once had her daughter stalk her through the woods so she could better describe the sounds of someone being followed.
Kate is also the author of several very popular career books, including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, and Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do.