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Clancy didn’t mince words when he talked to would-be writers. “If your objective is to write a book, get a computer and write the damn book,” he told members of the military at a 2004 writing workshop. “Yes, you can do this if you try hard enough. It’s a lot easier than you realize it is.”

Clancy wrote The Hunt for Red October while working in the insurance business. Rejected by major publishing houses, he sold the novel to Naval Institute Press, which had never published fiction, for $5,000. The Hunt for Red October was a best-seller and publishing houses no longer looked the other way.

Clancy was an imaginative storyteller. It’s much easier for an imaginative storyteller, versus someone who lacks such creativity, to tell an admiring audience that writing a book is “easier” than they might think. Though perhaps this is not exactly what Clancy meant. Perhaps Clancy’s message was, if you know your objective then why are you waiting to achieve it.

What is most easy is making excuses as to why we are not pursuing our goals. It’s never the right time, or we don’t have enough of it. Then as the time passes we say, “It just never worked out” or we might even say, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”

I highly doubt that all aspiring writers could successfully write publishable material; though I have no doubt that there are many writers who never discover their talent in full. To be who you want to be you have to start being who you want to be. You have to start somewhere or you’ll never write the damn book; you’ll never achieve a damn thing.