I don’t know how long the average blog lasts—maybe a few months? 101 Books has been around for five years and, as blogs go, that’s pretty ancient. It’s like the Bush, Clinton, Kennedy families in politics—whether you like it or not, we never go away!
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things. Most of them by accident. When I started the blog, I just wanted to start a reading blog—more specifically, a reading blog that follows this little reading journey with the Time Magazine list.
I’ve screwed up a lot, but I’ve had a few wins too. And, today, I want to tell you a little about both. Here’s 5 things I’ve learned in my 5 years of blogging at 101 Books. Read more
Confession: I’ve never written a single word in a coffee shop.
Confession number two: I don’t recall ever taking a laptop inside a coffee shop.
Confession number three: I hate coffee. Like, I loathe coffee. It smells like a combination of cigarettes and skunk.
That being the case, I’m a terrible candidate to be a novelist. Read more
Over the years, I’ve posted many excerpts from The Paris Review’s interviews with famous authors.
I love these interviews because they not only focus on authors and their novels, but they also dig into the writing process itself. And I’ve always enjoyed reading how world-class novelists go about their jobs. It’s fascinating.
Let’s take a look at Salman Rushdie’s writing process: Read more
The Guardian published White Teeth author Zadie Smith’s 10 rules for writing in 2010, and they’re pretty awesome.
- When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
- When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
- Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
- Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
- Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
- Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
- Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
- Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
- Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
- Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
After a decade or so of doing this writing thing, I’ve decided that writers are a unique lot. We’re kind of weird, wouldn’t you agree?
Recently I noticed some of my own quirks and thought I’d write them down.
But, certainly, these can’t just be truths about me, right? Certainly, you guys who write deal with the same stuff, right? I’m not the only one, am I?
You tell me if you’ve noticed the same things: Read more
A few weeks ago, my writing team at work was talking about inspiration—the whole idea of how we get inspired and what inspires us to write.
During that discussion, I came to realize (along with others on our team), that I don’t have a lot of the traditional, come to Jesus, “inspirational” moments. Don’t get me wrong, I get refreshed and maybe lightly inspired when I go running or sit by an ocean shore at sunset. I’m sure those moments fuel my writing in some way.
But I can’t say that I’m inspired by a lot of books, or movies, or images of sunsets with inspirational quotes. Maybe I am in small ways. I guess you could say a passage from a book might inspire one of my blog posts. But I don’t really have some sort of go-to source of inspiration.