Sue Monk Kidd’s tips for writing your first book

Sue Monk Kidd
“Writing [a book] takes discipline,” Sue Monk Kidd advises.
Credit: Roland Scarpa
Writing a book. So many people have this on their bucket list but have no idea how to go about actually doing it. Hearing about the J.K. Rowlings of the world who make millions off their first attempt sure is inspiring, but is it likely?

It happens, and you don’t have to be a career writer for it to happen to you. Sue Monk Kidd didn’t publish her first book, “Secret Life of Bees,” until she was 53 years 0ld, and she got to live every author’s dream by having it land on the New York Times Best Sellers List and turned into a blockbuster film. Her new book, “The Invention of Wings,” also became a best seller after early rave reviews and an endorsement from Oprah.

“When I started writing fiction, I told myself I would give myself seven years to really learn [how to do it]. Historically, that’s how long someone worked as an apprentice to learn a skill, so that’s why I decided to give myself that amount of time.” During this time, Kidd immersed herself in studying the elements of great fiction and surrounding herself by good fiction writers, soaking up everything they could teach her.

To find her own voice rather than emulating others, Kidd started writing every day. To write her book, she truly treated it as her career, working on it from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week. “I think writers have their own ways of approaching their work and they are very different. You have to find what works for you,” she says.

Regardless of the routine you set for yourself, Kidd stresses that writing a book takes discipline. There will be times when you don’t feel like writing, but if you don’t push through, it will never get done.

“You have to believe in your vision and be committed to it,” Kidd says. “When I started writing, I committed myself to it because it was my passion and I knew it was what I wanted to do. Allow yourself the freedom to find what fascinates you and really believe in that.”

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

National

Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.