This is where I play my "but I have twins too" card.
But I came away from that with the sense that what they had (that I was missing -- besides a published book) were editors & agents--folks who gave them deadlines to meet. I needed deadlines and someone to be accountable to.
So, I struck up a conversation with the guy who had an office right next to my writing office. The guy happened to be Andrew Gall, artistic director of the Parkway Playhouse. Writing a play is something I'd never done, but it seemed like an interesting experiment: how do you write ONLY DIALOG to reveal character and action? This was, perhaps, how I was going to create artificial deadlines and get myself an editor.
"I was thinking..." I ventured hesitantly into the conversation, "that if I wrote a one-act play, could you maybe read it and tell me what you think? If you have time." After all, he does run a theater company, direct plays, teach at the community college and have young children.
His reply was prompt: "Don't mess around writing a one-act play. Write a whole play."
What?! I began pulling excuses from any and everywhere. "But I've never written a play before!" I declared.
"Here," he said fishing through his bookshelf and pulling out a copy of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat. "I use this when I teach. It'll tell you everything you need to know and help you figure out the pacing."
"But I don't even know what to write about!" I continued. You would think that I hadn't started this conversation and asked for this very thing.
"I do," he returned. "You know this whole 'Battle of Burnsville' thing the reenactors do every April? I think it was really a bunch of women stealing sugar. Look that up."
I did and he was wrong. They actually stole wheat. But the sparse history of the event sparked my imagination.