On Writing: A Summary
Deciding you want to write books can either be an easy peasy lemon squeezy process because you don't take yourself seriously at all and you use a longtime bestie as a sort of human security blanket or it can be hard hard lemon difficult. For most people, it's the latter. So, I thought I would pass along some of my favorite lines, tips, tricks, and habits from On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft by Stephen King.
Have a writing schedule.
Writing is work. You have to treat it as such. Set a word count of, say, five hundred words, and write until you hit that word count. Do this every single day. Over and over. The more you practice, the easier reaching your word count goal will become. It's your goal, so feel free to increase it once your confidence is up.
That's the thing about writing, a lot of it actually has to do with confidence, not ability to string a few words together to form a sentence. So, start stringing the words, they won't all be brilliant - in fact, they definitely won't be - until you feel more comfortable.
"The road to hell is paved with Adverbs."
Remember those book reports you had to write in school? You know, the ones that had a set page length. Yeah. Those. Even I, who genuinely enjoys writing essays and books reports, was one hundred percent guilty of overusing adverbs.
Don't know exactly what an adverb is?
noun, plural noun: adverbs
a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there ).
Look, adverbs are lovely, enchantingly beautiful. < see what I did there? Use them, of course. Just try not to over use them. They can bog down the work and make it read like a kid who is just trying to get that page count so they can watch Adventure Time. Kid, I don't blame you. Adventure Time is rad.
This brings us to our third point. I didn't pluck this one from On Writing, this is something I've ascertained by reading a TON and co-writing a few books.
There is no set length for a sentence, chapter, book.
Sure, there are some basic guidelines. If your work is thirty pages long, it will never, not ever, be considered a novel. Tell your story. Take as little or as much time and space as it requires to be told. Then categorize your work. People get hung up on what's supposed to be done that they forget to write the story they want to tell. So, forget about it.
Any aspiring writer should grab a copy of On Writing. It's stellar. I read it last year between co-writing my first and second books. I wish I'd read it sooner. Book one is, admittedly, a little adverby.
If you get discouraged, and you will, just remember the immortal Ice Cube once said, "You can do, put your [laptop] into it."