Chapter 2 of 22 from James Patterson

Passion + Habit


Getting into the proper mindset is an essential first step to writing a best-seller. This lesson explores James's secrets for staying focused, productive, and motivated.

Topics include: Keep the passion alive • Love what you do • Believe in yourself • Endure rejection

Getting into the proper mindset is an essential first step to writing a best-seller. This lesson explores James's secrets for staying focused, productive, and motivated.

Topics include: Keep the passion alive • Love what you do • Believe in yourself • Endure rejection

James Patterson

James Patterson Teaches Writing

James teaches you how to create characters, write dialogue, and keep readers turning the page.

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Set out to write a best-selling book

James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, reveals his tricks of the trade for the very first time. In this course, he guides you through every part of the book writing process.

22 lessons totaling 3+ hours of video from James covering everything from starting your outline to getting published.

Each video lesson is paired with notes, reading materials, and assignments to make sure you get the most out of your class.

Submit your rough drafts and assignments for feedback from other students taking the class (and possibly James himself!).


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Such great advice, I will definitely be reviewing this again and again.

Really helpful and inspiring! Kept me engaged during the entire thing!

Immensely useful, informative and inspiring. Each element is logical and builds on critical aspects of what is necessary to write your story.

The most useful part for me was about the development of an outline, a map that would mean when I started the book, I would have a reference to keep me on track. I always resisted the idea of outlining, but I've also never finished a book, so a new approach is definitely warranted


Scott J.

I love James' encouragement in this lesson. But also like his candor and the reality check of it you're truly not passionate about writing, don't do it. Most of the great stories we hear about how famous writer's felt that it was their persistence and tenacity more than there talent that got their book done and sold.

George P.

James just delivered a class excellent for anyone who wants to pursue any passion

Daniel O.

This is my second time around. The first was very interesting and I’m looking forward to catching the tools that I missed the first time around

Tango J.

I appreciate James's candor in saying that if you aren't going to finish, it's okay because it's not meant for you. Writing a book is definitely a difficult undertaking, and it's important to appreciate the difficulty of such a task.

Andrea C.

I love the story about singing over the mountain every day! Such a great lesson to learn early in life or right now!

Patt S.

I love what appears to be a bottle of wine on his desk in the one clip! I also like that he was once an advertising copywriter, which is what I've been doing for 30 years now and that it took him until his 40s to start seeing success as a novelist. It gives me hope.

Elizabeth A.

I have been working on a book for awhile now I think that I am actually afraid to finish it this seems silly to me I have taken a few creative writing classes and read quite a few books that offer helpful advice to authors but every time I finish a book. I start my story over trying to include everything that I learned its getting frustrating but it has lead me to believe that there is no wrong way to write a book because we all have different tastes I have set my book aside and started writing a few shot stories and it helps me get new ideas. I know how I want my book to end now and just have to write the middle.

A fellow student

My first and only book is called Selfie published in 2013 and it was for my daughter who wanted to know something about me. A series of short stories. I then got the bug and started to write a western historical novel. Spent a lot of time on the first chapter as I believe the first page must get the reader wanting to read more. I have been doing a lot of research to make sure the time frame is creditable. But time marches on and I am not getting younger. I have a writers block at this time although I have over 15 chapters in the outline stage. Hopefully this class will get me moving, direction and on a regular writing schedule.

Natalia S.

I think my biggest problem is that I desperately want to write, but I don't have the motivation to. A lot of things happened at the end of 2018 (I changed jobs, I started a new relationship, a lot of moving) and I just did not have the time to sit down and do what I wanted to do, which was to rewrite the first novel I self-published. I want to breathe new life into something I published three years ago (something I had been working on for six years prior). Because my new job has different hours, I am going to try Mr. Patterson's advice and get up early in the morning to sit down and just work on my story because once I'm home in the evening, the only thing I really want to do is lie down and relax.

A fellow student

Indie author here. writing my 5th book. I am looking for new ways to improve my craft.


Somebody said you're lucky if you find something in life that you love and then it's a miracle if somebody will pay you to do it. And I think that's what ideally you want to move toward. That you found something you love, and you know, look, when you start doing this, if you don't love it, you're not going to finish the book. You're not going to finish the outline. And that's OK. That's telling you that's not what you're going to do. You have an interest in it, you like it, but you're not that passionate about it. If you are passionate about it, you can't help yourself. You've got to write that outline. You've got to write that book. The great thing about Vanderbilt was I had a professor there by the name of [? Solomon ?] and he said you are very, very good. You can do this. You can be a novelist. Practice, practice, practice, practice. And through this period I was reading 10 to 12 novels a week, I swear to god. Novels and plays. I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I was scribbling everything I could. At one point I went up and I stayed a week in a Trappist monastery, just thinking about my vocation and whether I could do this thing. And you know, the Trappists have this silence thing which was kind of weird but it was also very cool in terms of really focusing. Is this what I want to do with my life? Do I want to be a writer? Can I do it? And I really came out-- it was a life changing thing for me-- I came out of there going, I'm going to go for this. You know, once again, passion. No, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. I get a job in advertising. I knew I had to go to work. I was getting up at 5:00 in the morning to write. I didn't really want to get up at 5:00 in the morning, but that was the only place I could fit it in. I would fit in a couple hours. But when I was writing The Thomas Berryman Number, it really was that sort of 5:00 to 7:00 in the morning. And I did have to force myself, just because I didn't want to get up at 5:00. It wasn't that I didn't want to write the book, I didn't want to get up at that time. But I did it every day. I really think it's useful to get into that and do not sit there like, oh, I don't feel like it today. I don't feel like it tomorrow. Feel like it. Do it. Force yourself, even if it's half an hour. And half an hour isn't enough. Try to at least figure out an hour, somewhere. On the train, before you go to work, get up earlier. When you come home, before dinner, after dinner. You're going to have to figure out when it's going to be comfortable for you to do it. But I think it's really, really useful to get into that discipline. It's like any other habit, running. Once it becomes a ritual, a routine in your life, you don't even have to think about it so much. And then hope...