Robert Dugoni, a best-selling author who got his start at PNWA, continues to support the PNWA and its writers. On Thursday afternoon he gave the pre-dinner session. In it, he talked about his personal journey from a family of “compulsive overachievers” through law to being an author. People told him that it took a lot of courage for him to leave his law practice to pursue writing, but, he said, it was really fear of never achieving his dreams that drove him to do it. 🙂
So when he set out to become an author, Robert talked with a friend whose father had left traditional work to become a world-famous photographer. The father gave him two pieces of advice:
- Follow your dreams and the money will come. (Follow the money and you’ll lose your dreams.)
- Immerse yourself in the community of artists. (Surround yourself with many and many will be available to you.)
In other words, don’t think you’re “not a writer” just because you’re not published. A writer is one who writes, and every published author was first a writer.
The first connection every writer needs is to better understand himself. You need to understand the best story you’ll write (what you’ll write honestly and with passion). He challenged us to find a quote that defines our writing dream and post it somewhere to motivate us.
The second connection you need is the people around you. Not just your fellow authors (future J.K. Rowlings among them), but everyone you meet. Become an observer of people so that your books feel more real and interesting.
Remember that all you control is the writing. Have patience, perseverance, persistence, perspective, and passion while you try to get published, but never give up the writing. (Praying doesn’t hurt, either, if you want another P-word. 😉 )
Finally, he said his idea was so cheesy that his kids told him not to do it, but he wanted to do it anyway. He made us all stand up. (Much shuffling of papers and closing of laptops ensued.) Then he recited a writer’s version of Aragorn’s famous speech [I found it for you below], ending with “Today we write!”