Honorary Heartlette – Marley Gibson

August 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm | Posted in career, inspiration, life, Marley Gibson, motivation, writing | 5 Comments


Hi everyone! Thanks to the Heartlettes for letting me join the blog today! They’re wonderful women, dedicated to writing and I’m honored to be here.

So, it’s still summer for one more month…sunshine, the pool, the beach. I’m so thrilled to be having several little “time offs” during August. But will I really be shutting off my writer’s mind?

My parents owned a farm with chickens, cows, pigs, cats, dogs, and goats. It was always a challenge to take time off as a family, because my father always said, “Animals don’t take vacations.” I feel that way as a writer. To me, there’s never a moment when I’m not at least thinking about writing.

I’m always developing characters, plots, and dialogues in my head. When I’m in a work meeting, when I’m commuting, when I’m in the shower, or cooking dinner. The writing is always there at the forefront.

I just turned in a manuscript for my upcoming sorority series. Edits are done and we should have final titles and covers soon. The series, itself will be branded SORORITY 101. I’ve enjoyed writing them and I hope you’ll pick them up and enjoy them, too. I’ve been spending my summer working on some new proposals. Characters who have been tapping at my brain and begging for me to write them. They wake me up in the middle of the night and start talking to me during that Thursday morning staff meeting. They’re always with me. It’s kind of been like this for me since as long as I can remember.

When I was little, I used to write stories for my family. This one time, I had an “auction” where my family would bid like a quarter or a dime to buy my story. Hmmm…maybe this prepared me for being a published author, eh? LOL!! The stories were always there. When I got a little older, I created this “town” for my stuffed animals (of which, I had about 200.) It was called “Animaltown.” Not only did I break all of the animals into families, but I gave them all full names, backstories, goals, motivations, and conflicts. I didn’t know back then that was what I was doing, but as I’ve learned these elements of writing, I realize I was doing it before I knew how to do it. There was a school, a newspaper (which I wrote), there would be proms (which probably led me to be a meeting planner in my “real” life), and beauty pageants. The creativity was there…every day.

In 1993, I started writing my first romance novel. It was…awful, with glimpses of brilliance. I never quite finished it, but I had a blast writing it. I was so naïve, so fresh, so un-jaded about “rules” and who was buying what and so on. I just wrote because I had to do it. Then, after eight years of futzing around with collecting plot ideas, I decided to get serious about having fun. I sat down and wrote my first full-length novel. It was called FOOTPRINTS ON MY HEART and was about a woman who was pregnant with twins and trying to decide what to name them…perhaps after people who had left an impression on her in her life. It’s a flashback to her senior year in high school, her best friends, and first loves.

I loved it.

It was 863 pages of glorious emotion. And it sucked. But it got me writing. A full year of my life spent crafting and honing and plotting and writing. Sitting at the computer with gusto and verve and excitement because I *had* to get these characters and story out of my head. I had to finish the manuscript. And I did. Let me tell you what, there is NO better feeling in the world for a writer than getting that last sentence out and writing “The End.” Then, you can take a small vacation until the next set of characters start knocking on the cranial door.

Since writing FOOTPRINTS, I have written 12 full-length novels, 3 partials, and 2 books that will come out next year. Yes, I sold my books on proposal (meaning, a synopsis and three chapters), but it was because I had a track record of writing full manuscripts. My agent knew I could get to The End. My editors knew I could get to The End.

That’s the best advice I can give to ALL writers, not just newbies. If you want to be a writer, you have to WRITE. That means words on the page. Getting them out of your head. Making them tangible. You have to write. You have to not TALK about it, but DO IT. Life will get in the way because it’s…well, life. Jobs. Spouses/significant others. Kids. Commitments. All of that will allow you to excuse not writing by saying, “Well, the kids are out of school…” or “I was PMSing this week…” or “Work was killing me…” Doesn’t cut it for me. A writer writes. And, you find the time to do what you WANT to do. My friend, Wendy Toliver (www.wendytoliver.com) is a mother of three little boys. Her life is full of baths, meals, and play dates, but Wendy finds time to write. She makes time for her writing without making excuses.

I just came off five straight days of a National Sales Meeting at work where I worked all day, was in meetings and then dinners and partying each night, but I found time each day during lunch to work on my new synopsis. Because I knew I had to do it. I wanted to do it. So, just like my parents’ farm where the chickens didn’t stop laying eggs and the cows didn’t stop needing hay, writers don’t take vacations.

Sure, you can have down days or time off, but writing is in the blood and it’s something you have to do. If I could bottle up the want/need/desire to write and sell it to new writers, I’d do it. Anyone who wants to write should just DO IT. Sit down and let those words flow. Don’t think about where to market it or where it will fit on the shelf or what agent will want to buy it. Write it because you HAVE to write it. Write with innocence and naivety and fun.

Just. Do. It.

Thanks to the gals for having me here! I hope my little missive here has helped and motivates you to go write and get those amazing, complicated, detailed characters out of your head and onto paper. Good luck and keep at it!

Marley = )

Marley Gibson
Sorority Rush Begins…
May 2008



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  1. Marley,
    Thanks so much for coming to join us! I always love your posts on Books, Boys, and Buzz and am so glad we could borrow you for a day! We enjoyed having you and appreciate your sharing such sound advice. Can’t wait for Sorority Rush in May ’08!
    Hugs back,

  2. Thanks for having me here. You guys are great!

    Marley = )

  3. There was some great advice there! I loved the post; its content, its style. It encouraged me to start writing right away!

    Your childhood stories (particularly the one about Animaltown) made me smile and wow at your imagination. I enjoyed reading about your first novel, as I hope for that time to come to me as well (I’m more of a short story writer).

    And, I know exactly what you mean about writing being in the forefront. You begin seeing characters and plots everywhere! I love it : ).

    Anyway, thank you very much for this post! It was truly motivational!

    And to the other Heartlettes: I’ve been checking out this blog for a few days now and find it fantastic. Keep up the good work, I’ll be hanging around here! ❤

    Cosmic Whale~

  4. […] So while I still strive to align my life with feng shui principles, the investment in my new lap top gives me a creative freedom and portability I hadn’t felt before. On the flip side, I have no more excuses not to write. As Marley so aptly stated last week, writers never truly take a vacation. […]

  5. […] And I see her point, but I’d like to offer this — in any advice we receive, whether it’s a critique, constructive feedback, requested or unsolicited opinion . . . take what works for you and discard the rest. Earlier in the year, Marley Gibson visited us and punctuated her post with two very straightforward words: Writers write. […]

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