David Baldacci worked as an attorney before he became the bestselling author of legal thrillers, young adult novels and even screenplays. Here’s his advice to new writers:
Q: What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?
A: Go work on another project that is totally different. It will free your mind, but a bit of your creative juices still will be focusing on the original problem and will eventually solve it. If that fails, take a long walk or a hot shower. Daydreaming is also recommended.
Q: What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?
A: The only perfect place to write is in your head. Spend less time on assembling a physical place to write or superstitiously gathering the perfect pen, desk or writing hours and get your mind in the zone. Immerse yourself in the story to such an extent that that’s all you want to work on wherever you happen to be. As a published author you will have far less time to hide away somewhere and write. You will find yourself writing on the road, on tour, in less than an ideal place. The frame of mind is what counts and will allow you to be incredibly productive. The rest of the stuff are just false obstacles that often give writers an excuse not to write.
Q: What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?
A: Approach every book as if it’s your first novel. Fear each time that you can’t bring the magic again. Fear is a great antidote to complacency. Once a writer thinks he’s figured out what he’s doing, he’s lost the creative edge that made his books great. The source was Bill Goldman, the screenwriter and novelist.
In 1996, his first novel Absolute Power was published and became an immediate bestseller. It tells the story of a fictional American President and his Secret Service agents who are willing to murder people in order to cover up the accidental death of a woman with whom the President was having an affair. It was made into a film, Absolute Power (1997), starring Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman.
Baldacci has gone on to publish more than twenty further novels: Total Control, The Winner, The Simple Truth, Saving Faith, Wish You Well, Last Man Standing, The Christmas Train, Split Second, Hour Game, The Camel Club, The Collectors, Simple Genius, Stone Cold, The Whole Truth, Divine Justice, True Blue, Deliver Us From Evil, Hell’s Corner, The Sixth Man, One Summer, Zero Day and The Innocent, as well as two young adult novels in the Freddy and the French Fries series. He has also published a novella for the Dutch entitled Office Hours, written for the Netherlands’ Year 2000 “Month of the Thriller”. Baldacci also authored a short story, The Mighty Johns, as part of a 2002 mystery anthology.
Baldacci’s works have appeared in numerous publications including The Washington Post, Men’s Health, Richmond Magazine, and The Strand Magazine. He is also a contributing editor to Parade Magazine.
Baldacci has authored seven original screenplays, and his works have been published in magazines, newspapers, and journals throughout the world. All of his books have become national and international bestsellers, translated into over 45 languages and sold in more than 100 countries. Over 110 million copies of Baldacci’s books are in print worldwide, making him one of the bestselling writers in history.