Purpose of IWSG: to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
To join IWSG visit
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh here.


I live a block from The House of the Seven Gables. Not the book or the movie, but the house Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about. The home belonged to his cousin Susanna Ingersoll, and while Hawthorne visited Susanna often, he never lived in the house.

The Gables boasts a fascinating history, breathtaking seaside gardens, and a series of events throughout the year, which brings me to subject of this post. I recently attended a talk at The Gables given by Hank Phillippi Ryan.

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Ryan, let me fill you in. She is a best-selling, award-winning crime writer—six novels I believe, and an on-air investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Boston—for which she has thirty EMMYs. She is also on the National 6a0167665be36b970b0192abefcef2970d-500wiBoard of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), teaches seminars for MWA-University, and if all that doesn’t scream over-achiever, she is the current president of Sisters in Crime (SinC) and in her spare time (ha!) blogs at Jungle Red Writers.

During the talk, Ms. Ryan, recounted the story of her struggle with her first novel. Even though she knew she had a great story, as a first time novelist, she found herself mired in the sticky middle and in a quandary about where to go next. She did what many of us would do given the situation; she called her mother and confessed that she wasn’t sure she could finish the book.

Her mother’s response after a thoughtful pause?

“Well, honey, you will if you want to.”

I’d heard (or maybe read) this anecdote before, but for some reason, that Wednesday night two weeks ago, the words resonated.

My first thought? Yes, without the WILL to succeed, we have nothing. ***

• the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action
• a deliberate or fixed desire or intention
• the thing that one desires or ordains

My second thought? What a great topic for IWSG.

I hope these six simple words inspire you as they did me. And the next time you doubt your ability to conquer the task at hand, whether it’s writing your 100th query letter, finishing a first draft, or editing your manuscript—One. More. Time. Remember, the outcome is in your hands, no excuses. Let your passion and drive take over. And as for meeting the challenges ahead?

Honey, you will if you want to.

• • • • • • • • •

*** For more on taking control & making it happen,

see STEVEN SYMES’s excellent

August 3 blog post, NO EXCUSES here