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
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.