First a confession: I have never read any of Nora Roberts’s novels. It’s not that they’re hard to find. She highlights five “New Releases” on her website. Five. Most authors struggle to turn out one book a year. But I’ve never read even a page of hers, so I am in no position to comment on her craft.
Her dedication, on the other hand, well that impressed the hell out of me. Roberts managed to dispense some excellent advice in between quips on the NPR show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Host Peter Sagal asked her if she ever suffered from writer’s block.
“I don’t let myself believe in it. I feel very strongly writing is a habit as much as an art or a craft.”
She continued—and I would paint this over the threshold of my classroom, if I had anything more than a virtual classroom:
“If you write crap, you’re still writing—and you can fix that. But if you walk away, then you’ve broken the habit.”
You can fix bad writing. You can’t fix no writing. So get in the habit of writing—she didn’t say daily, but surely you can’t churn out five novels a year by only writing on Saturdays. Get in the habit of writing daily—and stay there.