The Secret to Writing Success

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by Elizabeth A. Schechter

I recently had the opportunity to spend most of a week at the Romance Writers of America national convention – four days of networking, of meeting the most amazing people, and taking classes. Now, I’ve heard that people think that this sort of convention is something akin to a meeting of the deepest, darkest cabal, where secrets are shared under oath, never to be revealed to the common writer.

And you know what? That is absolutely true. Except they never got around to getting my oath, because I commuted to and from the hotel. So I’m free to share the most important, the most vital secret to writing success with everyone. I’ve got my notes right here –

Hakuna matata… no, that’s not right.

Treguna Mekoides Trecorum Satis Dee… no, that’s substitutiary locomotion.

Oh, here it is. Ready for the ultimate secret to writing success?


Oh, come on, Liz. That’s not even a word!

Nope. It’s an acronym.

Well, what does it mean?

It means “Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.”

The ultimate secret to writing success? You can’t just talk about writing, you can’t just think about writing. You actually have to… you know… write!

But… that can’t be it! There’s got to be something more to it than that!

Nope. You want to succeed in writing? You have to write. You have to finish what you start writing. And while you try to sell that one, you  have to start another one. That’s the secret.

No secret handshake?


No magic words?

Well, you could try substitutiary locomotion, but it didn’t work well for me. Seems to only work for Angela Lansbury, and then only against Nazis invading England. (Have I officially dated myself now? Anyone else get the Bedknobs and Broomsticks reference?)

Seriously, though. If you want to be a writer, you have to work for it. Even if you have a full-time job and a full-time life. Something else I learned at Nationals was that most romance writers have full-time jobs and full-time lives. They work their writing in around the edges. They set a daily word count and they hit it every day. No exceptions. Because that’s the only way to succeed. So if you work a full-time job during the day, write at night. Write on weekends. Put it into your planner or on your phone as an appointment, and consider that time inviolate.

Now, before you go saying you don’t have the time to write, consider this.  Do you have a commute where you don’t have to drive? Do you have appointments where you have to sit in a waiting room? Do you sit in front of the television for an hour to watch reality shows? Do you have a laptop? Or a notebook and a pen/pencil?

You have time to write.

Writing is portable. I find that I write a lot in doctor’s offices. Between myself and my son, we usually have at least one appointment a week – usually, the allergist. I actually started writing this essay while sitting in the allergist’s office, and finished it in the waiting room of another doctor. Most of Where Home Lies was written in doctor’s offices. If I had a chair, I was writing. Because BICHOK.

So yes, that’s the great secret to writing success. BICHOK.

Butt in the chair. Hands on the keyboard. One word after another until you finish what you’ve started.

Are you sitting? Are you comfortable? Are you ready to succeed?

Let’s write.