Harlan Coben Reveals His Three Steps For Being a Successful Writer

Posted on September 6, 2011

New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben shares his secrets for writing in a great new article he wrote for The Wall Street Journal called "Want to Be a Great Writer? Follow These Three Steps."

Harlan wrestles with the paradoxical saying that "I don't like writing. I like having written." But can you be a real writer if you despise sitting in front of a computer waiting for the words to come? What if sometimes you love it, and sometimes it's just miserable? How do you make yourself sit down and do the work?

Harlan says there are three key elements: inspiration, perspiration and desperation. About perspiration, he has this to say:

It means you sit your butt in the chair and get to work. No excuses. And just so we're clear: Outlining is not writing. Coming up with ideas is not writing. Researching is not writing. Creating characters is not writing. Only writing is writing (yes, that's deep). So cut it out with the writer's block and the waiting for the muse to arrive and the artistic pretenses. That's all nonsense.
As for desperation, he explains, "If I don't write, I hate myself. Simple as that. My life is out of balance."

Harlan's new Young Adult book, Shelter: A Mickey Bolitar Novel, hit bookstores and Amazon.com today.

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