May 5th, 2021
I think about “How To” books on writing often. Not favorably, mind you. I always wonder why people who spend their time reading them don’t just spend that time writing.
Then I wondered: if I had to condense my thoughts on how to write to a tiny blog, what would that look like?
Well, it looks like this.
Now, I’m not talking about books in which great writers talk about writing. No, those books are delightful and among my favorite kind. I mean something like “How To Write a Murder Mystery” by I. G. Otyourmoney.
The first thing I always tell people who ask me how they can write a book is that they have to write. And they usually laugh or groan or roll their eyes and that’s when I get the sense that maybe this person is not a writer or doesn’t want to (or possibly even should) write a book.
You have to write to be a writer.
Now, let’s say you’ve written something. (Congratulations, massive hug from me, I like you already!) Your next job is this: read what you wrote.
Don’t like it?
Your audience, first and foremost, always and forever, should be you. If you don’t like what you write, then why would you expect anyone else to? One of the best things that can happen as a writer is when you go back, read something you’ve written, and not intensely loathe or passionately hate it.
When you start to write things you like, you start being a good writer. It’s simple. And when you start to write things you like, you develop the voice that only you have. When you write things that you love and believe in with all your being, the feeling you get when someone else likes it as much as you do is beyond any comprehensible description.
And that’s it.
So to recap:
2. Read it.
3. Keep writing until you write something you like.
Everything I have released officially (my six books, my comic book issues, my three albums, my blog) I could talk about all day. Seriously. I chose topics and developed characters and themes and wrote stories that I loved so I would never dread it if the day came when I had to discuss what I’ve done.
As always, no advice, but it’s what works for me.