12 Apr

There Is No Other Way – How to Become a Writer

Banner - Fountain PenStart by writing what you enjoy reading.

It’s usually the easiest way.

You’ll need to learn, and how fast you can quit your day job depends on how fast you’re willing to learn, which in turn is a function of butt-in-chair time. The more you’re willing to work, the faster you’ll accomplish your goals. This is true in any field.

Translation: less dreaming, more writing.

Secondly, be prepared to test a lot of things, and abandoning them fast. Learning to write is a series of try-fail cycles until you figure out how your brain works so that you can develop a system of writing that works for you.

Corollary to the above: read lots of craft books. Try what they suggest, but be prepared to abandon it quickly if you feel that it doesn’t work for you.

Corollary to the corollary: you need to give each method a serious try. It’s not enough to read a book and spend 15 minutes “testing” the method. Try writing a complete story using it (short story if you work that way, but some people can only do novels – you’ll notice how your writing turns out.)

Formal training isn’t necessary. Practice and an overview of craft is.

Translation: read craft books, watch craft videos on youtube, listen to writing podcasts.

Once you got the basic aspects of craft down (shouldn’t take more than a few months/years, depending on how much time you’re willing to invest), start trying advanced methods. Don’t try to become an expert on any given level, be it grammar or the hero’s journey, before moving on. The key is to know enough to use it, not know it well enough to write craft books on it.

Translation: don’t get stuck in perfectionist mode.

Other than that, there are no real rules for how to become a writer. Well there are two:

BICHOK and WIBBOW

BICHOK – But In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. Translation: there is no better way of learning to write than by writing. Practice, practice, practice. Never give up, never surrender, stop doom-scrolling the news and watching 1970’s TV Sitcoms all night. Write. It’s the way.

WIBBOW – Would I Be Better Of Writing? Translation: you will get distracted. By craft books. By marketing books. By morons telling you to build your platform before you’ve even written your books. Don’t. Always ask yourself, would you get more out of this activity, or more out of writing and practicing? WIBBOW. It means Write.

That’s the only way.

29 Mar

Creative Wells and Buckets of Satisfaction

Banner - LightI can’t code and write.

I can code well enough, and I can write well enough. But I can’t do it on the same day. Coding and writing fill up the same creative well in my mind.

It doesn’t really matter if I’m writing fiction or non-fiction, or whether I’m coding JavaScript or Visual Basic, or any other language. If I code I get the same creative kicks that I get out of writing. Read More

22 Mar

4 Signs You are Not a Writer

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Everyone has doubts. It comes with the territory – you’re a creative, you are able to imagine things, thus you are able to imagine horrible things.

Like “I am not a writer.”

It sounds true. Your doubts tell you it’s true. Your internal editor tells you it’s true. If you’re very unlucky, your friends and family tell you it’s true.

But is there a way to know? Read More

15 Mar

Being Five Times Positive with Your Writing

Banner - Fountain PenIn relationship psychology, there is this thing called the “five times positive”-rule. It says that for any relationship to remain positive over time, you need to have at least five times as many positive interactions as negative ones.

This is most commonly applied to parenting. If you yell at your kid once you have to make sure to have five positive play-dates with them before you yell at them again.

Otherwise, you’re going to get into recurring battles with your kids and your life will turn into a living hell.

Trust me on that one. Read More

01 Mar

How do you write?

Banner - Fountain PenHow do you write? Not now and then. Not because someone forces you to. How do you write, as often, and as productively, as you would like?

Fun, plain and simple.

Removing the “must” part from “I must write,” turning it into a simple “I write.”

For me, fun is what made that happen. No pressure, no self-recrimination, no “the world should be this way, and I should be that way with it.” Just plain fun. Read More

22 Feb

So I’ve Written 1 000 000 Words and I Feel Fine – OR – My 6-Year Journey from Wannabe to Neo-Pro, a Lurid Tale of Fiction, Finance, and Fatalism

Banner: running in the snow

So I’ve written a million words.

That’s 1 000 000 words.

It’s a big number. If I wrote a word per second, every second, without breaks for eating, sleeping, or watching Netflix, it would take me 11 days, 13 hours, and 35 minutes to write it.

If I did take breaks, it would take me 6 years. Which is what I did.

I’m going to tell you exactly how it went, what I earned, and where I got Kicked in the Shin by Life, Universe, and SFF legend Jay Lake’s Tub. Also, exactly how many rejections I’ve gotten.

Read on. Read More

01 Feb

Your Best Work and Your Worst Work

Banner - TypewriterFor years I’ve been hearing other authors say that there is no great difference between their worst work, and their best work. I’ve always thought this was a load of crud.

Of course there is a difference between my best work and my worst work. When I do my best writing everything flows. It is pure, pristine, shoals of wonderful ideas that weave together into a complete whole. It is living in flow with the Muse looking over my shoulder. The words flow out of me in a never-ending stream.

Except that all of that really is a load of crud.

Last year, after reading Chris Fox’s “5000 Words An Hour,” I started keeping track of my work. When I start to write. Whether I’m writing or editing. How many words I achieve. And it’s really opened up my eyes. Read More