The nine stages of writing a thing

It seems that, with everything I write, I go through these stages. I can’t be alone in this.

Right?

Stage 1: There’s this phrase. This idea. This nugget or image that sparks it. Maybe it’s inspiration, a voice from beyond, a scene, a plot point, a thought or insight, a problem I’m working out, feelings to express. Who knows. It comes from a thousand places. Sometimes it comes… Continue reading

Why you (yes, you) need to be a better writer (and how to get started)

More people need more content for more reasons, and that means that people are doing more writing.

Part of me thinks that’s really cool, because words! are! great! and I like that more people are using them and (one hopes) appreciating them.

Part of me weeps softly in the corner over my thesaurus and a well-worn copy of The Little, Brown Handbook.

Somewhere between the hundredth listicle… Continue reading

How to be a writer

These are the steps you have to take.

1.Write daily.

By daily I mean every day.

By every day I mean every day, not every weekday or every not-busy day or every day I feel inspired.

Write to a word count or write for a specified amount of time.

On the weekend days or the busy days or the uninspired days, write less: a smaller word count, a shorter… Continue reading

How to write a thing

You can’t treat writing as some mystical, mysterious, only-for-the-called-and-gifted endeavor.

Not if you want to do much of it.

If it helps, think of it as content production. Personally, I hate that term. It’s like saying meal production instead of cooking.

But if it helps, who cares.

Whatever you call it, to do more of it, break it down. Then tackle one piece at a time. Maybe… Continue reading

Content, writing, and gates

There’s writing and then there’s content.

It’s an unfortunate distinction. It sets up a dichotomy that doesn’t have to be there. It creates a content versus writing situation, in which “real writers” look down on content creation as a lower, commercialized activity. This isn’t new. Real writers have always been looking down on commercial writing, then remembering they have to eat, and then rethinking their standards.

When I… Continue reading

Quit writing open letters

Dear people writing open letters:

Please stop.

We all know that your open letters are not really letters to the “designated recipients.”

We all know that you’re really writing to us, the public, the masses, the mindless scrollers of newsfeed loops, the social media followers, and that you have thoughts. Opinions. Valuable opinions to share about this latest thing, this story, this whatever-the-hell happened.

And you… Continue reading

Writing is a myth

Writing is a myth. No one’s writing. No one knows how. No one can get it right, ever. Writing is folklore, witchcraft, uncensored heart bleedings and all that. Nonsense. Trivia.

Writing comes from the blunt parts of things, the edges, the rough-cut, hand-sawn wood ends that get thrown into the reject pile. The scrap yard, that’s the place for writing. It’s a heap of fodder, a heap of refuse… Continue reading