This photo has become a touchstone for me. It never fails to make me smile, and it inspires me to keep working. The first time I saw it, it made me laugh—loudly. It also filled me with an incredible combination of relief and determination.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. My first adult efforts were unsatisfactory. I wanted to get better. I wanted to write the kinds of stories that I want to read. I started looking around for guidance and, as it turned out, there was no shortage of it. There was, in fact, too much! I did manage to find a few bits of advice that made sense to me, but nothing I tried felt natural. I felt like I was doing writing wrong, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it right.
Finally, after a lot of fits and starts, I realized that I was just going to have to do it my way. I would have to be willing to fail. Willing to experiment. Willing to keep trying. And, ultimately, I found a way to write that works for me. Actually, “found” isn’t the best word. I built my process, a process that has helped me to write three novels in two years. And with each novel, I’m learning. I’m refining my process and, I think, becoming stronger in my work.
Nora Roberts is one of my heroes—not just because I love her books, but also because she has achieved incredible success on her own terms. And this photo reminds me that the only right way to be a writer is to write.