Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cory Doctorow has helpful writing tips.

You know when Obama used
this photo filter it looked
I found these on another blog while looking up some things for my latest magazine article, and I thought these were actually very helpful tips for writers.  

Cory DoctorowAuthor of With a Little Help, For the Win, Makers, and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
  1. Write every day. Anything you do every day gets easier. If you’re insanely busy, make the amount that you write every day small (100 words? 250 words?) but do it every day.
  2. Write even when the mood isn’t right. You can’t tell if what you’re writing is good or bad while you’re writing it.
  3. Write when the book sucks and it isn’t going anywhere. Just keep writing. It doesn’t suck. Your conscious is having a panic attack because it doesn’t believe your subconscious knows what it’s doing.
  4. Stop in the middle of a sentence, leaving a rough edge for you to start from the next day — that way, you can write three or five words without being “creative” and before you know it, you’re writing.
  5. Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.

Item 4 is the most helpful to me.  I already do 1 and 2 and 3 and 5.

I've read a couple of Cory Doctorow books, and they always make me think, plus they are amazingly creative.  I'd recommend starting with Down & Out In The Magic Kingdom, which you can buy or download for free from his site. But my favorite book of his is the wildly inventive Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town. You can also download that for free. I can't wait for the day I'm successful enough to let people have all my books for free.  


  1. Someone else was recently talking about this writing strategy that involved hard stops in your writing. At the end of the page or a certain time limit even if you're in the middle of a sentence, then pick back up there the next day. I'm not certain I could make myself feel comfortable doing that. And, since I don't really have an issue with just sitting down and writing, I'm not feeling overly inclined to try it.

  2. I don't think I could stop in the middle of a sentence, but otherwise I agree with these tips. As a working parent, I have to make the most of whatever writing time I can get. I bring my netbook with me to my son's swimming class, and yesterday I wrote (with pen and paper) while on the Metra to Chicago.

  3. Sandra: I wrote a story once while one of my sons was taking a bath and I was supervising.

  4. The online paraphrasing service express the meaning of (something written or spoken) using different words, especially to achieve greater clarity.