How Roy Peter Clark Wrote 5 Books in 10 Years

Roy Peter Clark writes books for writers. He’s a pro craftsman. He always shows his working, his tricks, his hard won secrets and handy cheats.

Following his books will make you a better writer than you deserve to be.

How did he write 5 books in 10 years? Here’s how, and here’s my summary:

  1. A page a day = a book a year. A book is a lot, a page is not. A printed page might only be 250 words. If you find the time to write a few emails, tweets, or text messages a day you can probably find time to write a page.
  2. Divide and conquer. A page a day divides the challenge by time. Divide the challenge by topic too. Divide and subdivide until your book is made of short, manageable chunks of about 1,000 words. It will be easier to write and — as a bonus — easier to read too.
  3. Learn as you write. You don’t need to fully know the topic before you start writing. Just start! Write your learning journey down as you make it. Then, with the benefit of hindsight, prune back to the essentials.
  4. Collect, curate, and share. Writing need not be original. Find inspiration everywhere. When you see something you like, ask yourself: why do I like this and how can I use it?
  5. Let thy first draft be dreadful. Don’t try to write print-ready prose when you sit down. Just talk to your reader (or yourself) in writing. Polish later.
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