This is my last post. It’s been a great year of getting to know all of you and hearing what you have to say about writing. I thought a good way to go out would be to leave you with 25 things I know about writing. They are in no particular order, you may have heard them elsewhere, and I may have written about one or more of them in the last year. Nevertheless, they are 25 true things that I know about writing. Think of this post as the grand finale of a fireworks show*, in that I will shoot off all the firecrackers I have left and say goodnight (I am now bracing myself for the inevitable comments from my peeps at The Bar of Skyrim).
25 things I know to be true about writing:
1. Writing is a continuum. It’s never about any one project.
2. Books don’t write themselves. If we don’t sit down and type, it won’t happen.
3. Good writers are good readers.
4. We can call fear and doubt Writer’s Block if we like, but it’s still just fear and doubt.
5. Use specific nouns and strong verbs.
6. If you’re serious about being a writer, you can’t wait to be inspired. Establish a writing routine and stick to it.
7. Writing is about precision and clarity.
8. Write by yourself. Then surround yourself with writers and share.
9. Sometimes you will write crap. That’s okay. It’s not fun, but it’s okay.
10. Words and literary techniques are our tools. Good craftspeople know how to use the tools of the trade.
12. Simple and clear is better than fancy and unclear.
13. Vocabulary is not about using the biggest word, but the best, most precise word.
14. Sense imagery is the currency of fiction and poetry.
15. Don’t forget to plan before you write, but don’t have to be an outliner unless you want to.
16. To be published, you must submit. You can’t win if you don’t play.
17. Revision is the most important step in the writing process because you’re taking what you have and you’re making it better.
18. A good eye, a love of words, an understanding of language, and a desire to move people: these are more important tools than a new laptop or iPad.
19. Learn from your favorite writers by reading their work. Emulate when necessary.
20. Write the book you want to read.
21. 52 essays in 52 weeks has made me a better essayist. 49 more novels and I should be a pretty good novelist.
22. Just because a writer is successful doesn’t mean he or she is any good.
23. Getting paid a truckload of dough for your writing is neither moral nor immoral. It just is.
24. Never give up, but. . .
25. Never forget that it should be fun.
I want to thank Alex for the opportunity to write for the coolest writers’ website on the Interwebs, and I want to humbly thank every Scribber who has ever read and/or commented on my posts. I met some very cool people here and witnessed some spectacular writing talent. And Scarecrow, I’ll miss you most of all.
*Although I do not guarantee any “ooohs” and “ahhhs.”