The Effective Author: Is the Right Answer Crippling You?

The Effective Author: Is the Right Answer Crippling You?

© 2017 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.


Many of us learned all about The Right Answer in school; but is the quest for the single Right Answer now crippling you? Especially for authors writing a book or a series, I invite you to consider how much your work has been delayed by waiting until you get the single Right Answer to questions of genre, character/s, time frame, plot, and the decision to have a series or not. Go ahead and journal your thoughts about the productivity of your project since you first decided you would like to do it. Revealing, eh? In truth, there is no rule about the genre, character/s, time frame, or plot.

In school days, we learned either/or thinking. There was one right answer. This made perfect sense when we were learning arithmetic. In pure numbers, 2 + 3 is always 5. There is one correct answer. But which is the most civilized country on Earth? It depends on how you define “civilized.” And what is the biggest city in the US? It depends on how you measure it: square miles, total population within the city boundaries, or perhaps the number of buildings over 20 stories high?

I suggest that if you can’t look it up, it may be holding you up. If it isn’t a definable fact, waiting for the perfect Right Answer is a quixotic quest. Here are questions with no firm answer, which people ask all the time:

  • Is this a good exercise program?
  • Is this supplement Good For You?
  • What color palette should I wear?
  • Is this a good computer (for me)?

Using the field of mystery fiction as an example, here are parallel questions I hear authors asking, themselves and others:

  • What type of mystery should I be writing? Cozy, thriller, horror?
  • Should it be a single masterpiece or a series?
  • What basis should I use? Food mystery, architectural, historical, European cities, quaint British village, futuristic on a space station, university town?
  • Should I use a single detective/solver? A duo? A team?
  • What kind of villain/s do I want, and should they continue throughout the series?

Certainly, these questions need to be answered, but there is no Right Answer. And you will spin your wheels imagining that a single perfect answer will fly into your mind if you just wait long enough. In fact, if you are prone to procrastination, waiting for the Right Answer can greatly help you in getting nothing done at all, ever. So try something. At least outline your ideas. Sketch out what the hero/es would be doing if they were in, say, Rome in 340 AD versus Cincinnati in 1960 or Sydney in 2060. Try using 3 columns. Then start filling in details.

Soon your creativity will be bubbling. You will know just which way to go. And you may discard a partial draft because you realize you don’t want to do that much research on the settings and the weapons of that era. Who cares? To get into your future, remember that Joyce Meyer says:

“You can’t drive a parked car.”

The Effective Author keeps producing, and s/he sets aside what isn’t working for the overall project, or what isn’t working any more. S/he keeps what is working. The best answers will emerge. Now get on the production highway and get driving! More and more, you’ll be The Effective Author you want and need to be.

Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and author of the award-winning book, Kebba booksDiscover the Secret Energized You, as well as the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition
. Her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, is available through her office. Just email for more info. Like this article? Buy Kebba’s books by clicking the links! Reach the writer at For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group:

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3 Responses to The Effective Author: Is the Right Answer Crippling You?

  1. Brad Graber says:

    Kebba – So well stated. Thank you for the post. It’s a great reminder to get going – and the creativity will follow.


  2. So true. In some ways, having unlimited creative options can be paralyzing. Considering all possible choices is too overwhelming. But when we set limits or decide to pursue only a handful of those options, suddenly we direct and focus our efforts. Does everything come out as a masterpiece? No. But we keep moving forward, scrap what doesn’t work, and run with what does. Your advice is solid counsel for all creative, artistic pursuits, from writing to music and painting.


  3. Pingback: The Effective Author: Is the Right Answer Crippling You? | Matthew Howard

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