Bad writers are constantly getting in their own way. And it’s sad because they usually have the requisite talent. But they are constantly hung up on the wrong things. I know this from experience. You could say I am an expert at being a bad writer.
I keep telling people this, but it took me a while to realize it so I’ll probably harp on it for a while. From the time I graduated college until I was almost 30, I spent most of my time not writing even though my dream was to be a writer. Stupid, right? I…
Short stories are perhaps the best available tool to practice your craft as a writer.
Many inexperienced writers, myself included, tend to rush into novels without the requisite chops to ultimately pull it off.
We get bogged down in the quagmire of this big, amorphous blob and eventually, after a great struggle, we get sucked under and drown.
I can’t tell you how many novels I’ve started and never finished. Novels that I wasn’t ready to tackle. Novels that I got halfway through and realized I had no business writing. Or even attempting to write.
So, I got back to…
Ernest Hemingway wrote many brilliant things. So it comes as no surprise that he had many brilliant things to say about the art and craft of writing.
One pearl of wisdom that I return to often when I get stuck in my own writing is this: remember to just tell the truth. Write something true. It doesn’t have to be big; it need only be one sentence, so long as you know it’s true.
And I don’t mean true in a factual sense, or accurate in any tangible or measurable way, although I suppose that can work too. I mean…
Constant interruptions are are the destruction of the imagination.— Joyce Carol Oates
Your number one responsibility (outside of the obvious one, which is writing) is to protect your time.
Or, as Ryder Carroll writes, “you can’t make time, you can only take time.”
And when you take the time to sit down and write, guard it as if your life depends on it.
Because enemies are lying in wait everywhere.
Throw away your television.
Close your browser tabs.
Quiet the noise in your own head.
When you’re writing, shut the door.
Put your phone in your desk drawer.
Along the way, we’ve also been brainwashed into believing that creativity is a gift, something mysterious that the muse hands to a few select people. We’re not to look at it too closely or it might disappear. — Seth Godin
It’s easy to get stuck in preparation mode.
It’s easy to get stuck planning and plotting and waiting for the perfect conditions under which you can create your best work.
It’s easy to get so caught up in these activities that you never actually do anything besides plan.
James Clear defines this dilemma as motion vs. action trap.
Except to the most avid seekers of wisdom, Stoicism is either unknown or misunderstood. To the average person, this vibrant, action-oriented, and paradigm-shifting way of living has become shorthand for “emotionlessness.” Given the fact that the mere mention of philosophy makes most nervous or bored, “Stoic philosophy” on the surface sounds like the last thing anyone would want to learn about, let alone urgently need in the course of daily life. — The Daily Stoic
I don’t think enough people fully understand or appreciate the value proposition of Stoicism.
This is what allows so many to dismiss it out of…
It’s been said of today’s political climate that it doesn’t so much matter what is being said. What is far more important is who is saying it and what “team” they play for.
And I find it very difficult to disagree. Of course, this arrangement is ass-backward.
It also reminds me of a quote from Christopher Hitchens about independent thinking from his book, Letters to a Young Contrarian:
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
An independent mind is a rare thing these days. It is perhaps even so rare…
At once [the buffalo] is a symbol of the tenacity of wilderness and the destruction of wilderness…it represents a frontier both forgotten and remembered; it stands for freedom and captivity, extinction and salvation.
— Steven Rinella
I had a sociology professor in college who was quite popular on campus and gave a well-known lecture at the end of every semester that grew quite famous by the end of his tenure there.
People who weren’t even in the class would crowd into the auditorium on that final day just to hear it. …
A common trap many inexperienced writers fall into is creating characters that are too close to perfect.
They don’t have any real flaws.
They don’t endure any real hardships.
They don’t struggle.
They don’t fight.
Things just kind of come easy to them.
They sort of just wander around storyland with limited hardship, facing mundane challenges, and things just kind of…happen.
But the obvious problem with this is that is boring.
When awful, bad, terrible, hard things don’t happen the character succeeds too often and it doesn’t feel justified.
Subconsciously readers will begin to resent this.
Not only because the…
There are lots of good reasons to wake up early.
But the best one is psychological.
Getting out of bed when you don’t feel like it is a small, but important win that allows you to immediately build momentum to start your day.
Sure you could hit snooze and wake up fifteen minutes later or a half-hour later.
Maybe even hit it a few more times. Get an extra hour or two. Sleep is important after all.
But the thing is, every time you hit snooze, it’s a loss.
Hit it multiple times?
Multiple losses to start your day.
waging a never-ending war on laziness and mediocrity