"I Do It Because I Love It!"
Gary knows the numbers about the tiny percentage of writers and artists who succeed. Some say it’s as low as 1%. But he’s up at 5 a.m. every day writing his screenplay, before plunging into the editing software he’s creating. Asked why he does it, he says, “I’m doing what I love!”
Gary Kinder writes narrative nonfiction, and is the author of three books. When not writing, he has taught over 1,000 writing programs to law firms, corporations, universities, and writers conferences. He has appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America. He is also creator and founder of WordRake, editing software, which is used widely in law firms, government agencies, corporations and universities.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
It wasn’t until Gary was around 25 that he recognized his drive—he calls it his obsession—for writing. He studied journalism in college, then taught a writing course, both at his journalism school and then at the law school from which he graduated. He credits the values his parents taught him, especially about treating everyone with respect and paying attention, for his ability to connect quickly with people, which is helpful in interviewing people for his writing.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Two authors in particular, Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe, made strong impressions on Gary, which encouraged him along his path of writing narrative nonfiction. He combines his listening skills as an interviewer with his journalism-inspired crisp writing. He writes in a style that resembles fiction, but his stories and dialog are deeply rooted in his research. It’s no accident that the editing software he is developing, WordRaker, is designed to take out unnecessary words from a variety of documents his clients handle. He is constantly tweaking the program’s algorithm to spot and remove the words that do not add meaning.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
As a writer, or as any other person creating something, Gary advises, “You have to practice every single day. For instance, I work on WordRake almost all day long. I’ll work on the weekends, sometimes at night, developing new edits to put into algorithms to inform the software. I’ve been writing my screenplay for years and I’m still working on it! But I love to get up at 5:00 a.m., work on the play for an hour or two before I jump into WordRake, my main passion. It’s something you have to do.”
Steps to Success from Gary Kinder
1. You have to love what you’re doing, enough to wake you up at dawn, to do it every day, even if success doesn’t come right away.
2. Be willing to work on your dream until you get it right.
3. Take a break occasionally and let the well fill up. Do some other things, then come back to the big project.
4. For inspiration, read stories about people who never give up.
On His Bookshelf
Victim: The Other Side of Murder, by Gary Kinder
Connecting With Gary Kinder
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