Here’s a comment from my wonderful friend and mentor, Rob Gilbert: “My stories tell me how to tell them better. When you tell a story over and over again, it’s almost like the story tells you, ‘No, no, this way!’ You have to love what you’re doing and do it thousands of hours…You have to spend a lot of time with a story or a skill or a technique or writing — and it will tell you its secrets!” Rob loves telling stories on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690) — in fact, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether it’s story telling, music, or writing, gaining true mastery takes time and practice. You have to be willing to put in the hours and do whatever it takes if you’re going to make real progress.
Even seasoned authors are willing to go the extra mile to make sure their writing sparkles and their stories sizzle. Ken Follett, the best-selling author whose novels have sold 130 million copies, takes the time to completely re-input the first draft of his books. Not only does he make revisions suggested by a small band of readers, but he also revisits every single word with the goal of making his final book stronger and better.
When Mary Higgins Clark was penning one of her novels, she wanted to convey the feeling of suspense that Daphne du Maurier created in her classic thriller, Rebecca. To help “decode” Rebecca’s success, Mary copied out the first and last paragraphs of each chapter so she could get a feeling for the flavor of Daphne’s timeless writing.
Putting in the time, going the extra mile: the level of effort we put into our work matters. If we want our stories to tell us their secrets, they have to see us sweat! Write on.