Thursday, January 17, 2013

Writing Success is a Journey, Not a Destination by Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy lives in Arizona with his wife of forty years. He is a full time writer and part time urban chicken rancher.

Goodbye Emily, his eighth novel, is now available for Kindle and Nook.


Writing Success is a Journey, Not a Destination by Michael Murphy

One of my great enjoyments of writing is to meet other writers. I especially enjoy hearing about how they came to be a writer. Most are fascinating insights into dreams and motivation.

My writer’s journey to become a published novelist sprang from a most unlikely source. My employer at the time paid for a half dozen employees to attend an all-day seminar on establishing long term goals, defined as a goal that would take a year or more to accomplish.

At the end of the day we were expected to have selected a long term goal to complete. With the end in sight, I’d narrowed my choices to 1) remodeling our house or 2) writing a novel.

Both had considerable negatives. Remodeling a house would be expensive and a lot of hard work…for a year! I’d always enjoyed writing, I’d majored in it at Arizona State University. A journalistic background convinced me writing a 70,000 word manuscript was next to impossible, but I utilized the techniques learned in the seminar and began a novel called Class of ’68. At the end of the year I’d completed the novel. It was first place in the Arizona Authors’ Association unpublished novel category in 2000 and I was hooked. Class of ’68 was published by Wings ePress in 2007.

Along the way, I learned fiction writing techniques that made me a more polished author. I still learn on my journey. I also discovered I should ignore common advice to “write what you know.”

Seriously? I’d spent most of my career in the insurance and risk management fields. If I wrote what I knew, I’d have written a novel about risk management. While Seinfeld devoted an entire episode to risk management and it was hilarious, especially to those of us in the “biz”, I felt certain a novel about risk management held little appeal to the public.

I write the kind of novel that I enjoy reading, mostly mystery and suspense with splashes of humor. Nelson DeMille is my favorite author of this genre. My advice to fellow authors is to write what you enjoy reading. If you love to curl up with a good romance novel, write a romance novel. If you have a collection of horror novels on your shelf, write horror novels.

As I mentioned earlier I continue to learn about writing. I’ve now had eight novels published, My latest novel, Goodbye Emily, is my best yet because I enjoy the path I’ve taken.

A final piece of writing I’ll pass along is, writing success is a journey not a destination. Enjoy the adventure.


For more information about Michael and his novels, visit his website and blog. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

And for the full interview that appeared here in August, go to An Interview with Michael Murphy.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Michael.

Michael - I've always thought that the journey to the creation of a story is at least as interesting as the story itself. Thanks for sharing yours.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're right about that, Michael. I never even intended to become an author and the real joy has been the people I've met on my journey.
Congratulations on your latest book.

Anonymous said...

Your book sounds great-- looking for it now. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Michael.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Risk management does not sound very exciting.

I enjoy reading Lovecraft - he is the true master of horror - but I've never tried to write a horror story.

Anonymous said...

I hear you, Ms. Wolfe. I love reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz, but would never attempt horror. However, I've learned about writing humor and suspense from Nelson DeMille and Dennis Lehane. My point was not to just lock oneself into "writing what you know." We have greater capabilities.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Julie and everyone who took the time to read about my ongoing journey.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Very interesting. Great interview. Thanks for hosting, Michael.

Anonymous said...

I've also enjoyed the journey, both the good and the bad. I'm glad I came across Michael. I'll check out his site.