What I Learned – James Patterson

Early 2016 I decided to work on my craft. I thought perhaps taking a workshop or a class may help me, maybe. At the time that I was thinking these things, mulling them over before taking the leap, and making the investment, I saw a few of my fellow writers taking the masterclass offered by author James Patterson.

I did my research and I found that this course was set-up in a way that you could ultimately win the honor to co-author a story with him, that was not something I was interested in. I wanted purely to hear what he had to say about publishing, writing, and his experiences in his career. I’m sure for some they wanted to co-author something with the man to boost themselves, the attention toward any work they had previously published, or just to have the experience of working with him.(Those bragging rights ya know!?) But for me, I just wanted to learn. If I’m meant to work with someone of his status in the writing world then it’ll happen…eventually.

It was set-up very much in the way that a class is at any school would be. Homework and all! Participation was a part of the entire course, but it was also very isolating, at least for me. It was more like posting to comments under classes and doing assignments than what I had expected originally, but I’m flexible and over time this just was what it was. I would do the homework and watch the videos learning whatever it was I could from them. There was another way to connect to others in the course, that being a Facebook group dedicated to those that had paid to be a part of the program, but I rarely posted there if any at all.

What I ultimately learned is that some of his advice was more of a confirmation for me. The killer of inspiration is self-doubt and the ‘walking in the darkness’ feeling that can come from being in the independent writing industry. I’m not sure if that feeling can flow over into traditional publishing, but from the field that I am in it’s common. So many of my fellow writers have admitted they didn’t know what to do, if anything at all, to help themselves. I admit, in ways, I’m like this time to time even to this day with my wondering if anything I’m doing on social media is really helping me or not, but I just breathe, sip another bit of coffee, and hand it over to my networking that I’ve worked on to aid me along the way. (Tip: Word of mouth is always a fantastic way to get attention.)

My feelings were also confirmed that if you’re going to get anywhere you’re going to have to work to get there. This is something else I’ve seen in many fellow writers in the field. Especially those that believe that because they’re with an indie publisher their job of writing the story is done, it’s not! You must always promote yourself and your work. The publishing house will help, at least the good ones, and that coupled with your own efforts will over time get you a ‘buzz’.

I do recommend trying it out for yourself if for nothing else than to settle your nerves. For the price I paid, I have a lifetime access to everything which to me sounds like a bargain. Anytime I want to go back, check out things again, perhaps even brush-up I can.