There is a curiosity of what authors are “up to” behind the scenes in their writer lives. What is their process? Where do authors’ ideas come from? How long does it take to write a book? When I first began pursuing a career in writing I was on the hunt for a “magic formula” or “yellow brick road” to lead me quicker and on a straight path to my ultimate goal of publication. To be able to say I was a published author was what I wanted. It soon became clear there was no “magic formula” or “yellow brick road”. It was a curvy path full of learning, challenges, networking, friendships, and so much more. 

Most authors work a day job, although some work as full-time authors. I feel both have its challenges! I wouldn’t go back and change a thing, even though I have been working toward my writing goals for ten years now. I will admit, there were a few times I wanted to just push the magical “publish” button. 

Instead, I continued to write, write, and write some more. I read romance in my genre and studied books on the craft of writing. It became habit to attend conferences, workshops, and listen to on-line professionals discuss the world of writing. I joined RWA and the local Wisconsin RWA. This was a big move for me and helped me network with people who immersed me further into the writing world. My local chapter has been an amazing group of authors and friends to me. There was something special about meeting in-person with fellow writers. Another asset I had through this curvy path was a wonderful, supportive critique partner I met at the Madison Writer’s Institute. I entered contests, volunteered on the Wisconsin RWA board (this taught me so much about myself and the RWA organization), and judged for contests. 

There is no “magic formula” or “short cut” for writers to follow. It is about learning your craft and continue to learn as you go. You discover what works for you and what doesn’t through trial-and-error, practice, and plain old perseverance. It’s nothing to be disheartened about, since as you travel along, you’re constructing a solid foundation to build on. 

Authors dedicate large portions of their lives to writing. The reality of a writer’s life is they put in a lot of hard work creating stories to entertain readers. And authors will continue to write to please readers and full-fill a need to create a great story. 

By: Lianna Hawkins


Lianna Hawkins is an Award-Winning Author who writes steamy historical western romance with a Victorian punk flare. Her heroines break the social rules of women in the old west. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and her local chapter, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America (WisRWA). Lianna has also served as President of WisRWA from 2016-2018. She was the 2019 winner in the Utah Great Beginnings Contest with The Bounty’s Catch. You can visit Lianna at