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Writing for publication: Taking the plunge

"I could've written something better than that."

"I've got a great idea for a movie."

"I can't believe this author has a book deal.  He's terrible."

How many times have we heard (or uttered) things like this?  Too many to count.  It seems everyone has an idea for a movie or the next Great American Novel.

If you're reading this, chances are so do you.  Ideas are everywhere.  The problem is execution - turning that idea into a story.

So why do so many who think they have great ideas never get any farther than dreaming about them?  Most never actually do anything with the idea.  You have to write the thing.

Woody Allen famously said, "Ninety percent of success is simply showing up."  Another well known writing mantra is "Butt in chair, hands on keyboard."  Sounds obvious, but so many people never get it.

In his book "On Writing," Stephen King said he tries to write 2,000 words a day.  Screenwriter William Goldman believes if a writer can't put out three pages of script each day he might as well give up his Hollywood dreams.  2,000 words and three script pages are a lot of work, folks.  In order to reach this kind of output on a daily basis, writers need one thing - commitment.

Often, the word commitment is mixed up with passion.  Anyone who loves to read and enjoys writing has passion.  Someone who disciplines themselves to write five pages of their story every day no matter what has made a commitment.

That's the first step toward becoming a published writer.  Take it seriously and make the personal decision to start writing and keep writing until you complete something.  Getting it down is paramount.  You have to have a first draft before you can revise and polish it.

2,000 words a day or three script pages may be a bit much for many of us who have jobs and kids and responsibilities, but set daily goals for yourself and stick to them.  You'll be amazed how much you accomplish in a week; in a month; over a year.

That's how it all starts.  Making a commitment to live your dream of being a writer.  You won't regret it.