The cliché virus comes in two common strains.The first is cliché of language, those over-used phrases we all know and love:the icing on the cakethe heat was stiflingthe sky was on fire (at sunset)to your hearts contentdead as a doornaila loose cannon You get the idea…The second and more virulent strain is what author Donald… Read more »
You get competent by following the rules. You learned to read and write by following the rules of the classroom. You learned how to play the piano by practicing scales. You got your BA in English by putting semicolons in the right places and by seeing the right things in the same books everybody else was reading. We… Read more »
Get an ugly haircut the day before you start a big project, one you wouldn’t want to be seen with in public. This will make it easier to follow the first commandment of writing and glue thy ass to the chair . I’m currently sporting an overgrown buzz cut like Sid Phillips from Toy Story.
In his collection, the Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, Roald Dahl lays down the seven qualities “you should posses or try to acquire if you wish to become a fiction writer.” They are as follows: You should have a lively imagination. You should be able to write well. By that I mean you should be… Read more »
Unless, of course, you actually tell stories.
We interrupt our regular programing to bring you a public service announcement from TED.
In an interview with Oprah, Steven Pressfield reminds artists to remain seated. …put your ass where your heart wants to be. And by that I simply mean: if you want to paint, put your body in front of an easel, if you want to write, sit in front of a keyboard. And then just plunge in. … Read more »
Knowing what you’re doing right can be just as valuable as knowing what you’re doing wrong. But your inner-bully doesn’t see it that way.
You don’t need to write “I think…” in your journal. Ever.
Do like Cormac McCarthy and work with only comas and periods for a while. Maybe take something you’ve already written and rewrite it without all those “weird little marks,” as he calls them. Watch your sentences become cleaner and tighter. It’s easier to listen to your drafts doing it this way, to make music with your words rather than… Read more »