Steve Silberman of Wired fame has posted a wonderful piece over at PLoSBlogs about his effort to actually write a book. It is not the same as writing a short story or a 4000 word feature piece for Wired. His wonderful narrative ends with a collection of tips from 23 amazing authors like Cory Doctorow, David Crosby, Josh Shenk and more.
A sample from Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job:
- Do not open email until 5PM on any weekday or other day when i expect to be writing much of the day.
- Do not read other people’s work on the same subject. That might be hard for you, since you are collecting research data, but I say very little about what other people have said or thought. They’ve already said or thought it.
- I am VERY selective about having other people read it as I go along other than my editor, and that only when I have enough written to feel secure that I have found my voice.
- When I do not like how what I’m writing is sounding, I quit. I leave the computer. I do something else, like cook soup. I “hear” what I am about to type before I type it and if it is not sounding like me naturally talking, I know i am not clear or balanced enough to go on.
- I do not write from the beginning to the end. I write in the order that particular parts take form in my mind and I enjoy mulling them over… I mull and mull and imagine I am explaining them to someone and then I write them down. I have the order in mind, so I write whatever part is bubbling energetically in my mind, print it out (always) and begin a stack on THE BOOK on a corner of my desk into which I can add pieces (in their proper order) as they get written and so I have a visible proof at all times that something is happening.
- I take the due date for the first draft EXTREMEly seriously., like everything depends on that day. it makes the project energetically alive for me, like a James Bond five-minutes-and-fifty-two-seconds until the whole world blows up movie and even if the draft is finished a week early I push the SEND button just after 12AM on the day it is due. Theatrical, I know, but I learned it from a friend of mine whom I admire as being a fine writer who prides himself on doing that.
Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life