It’s interesting to see how verbose one can be on the web. A rough calculation based on some slightly out-of-date statistics suggests that the blogsphere is expanding at a rate that’s far faster than that of the universe; if people are ignoring blogs in the way they ignore the majority of webpages out there – somewhere around 98% of websites in the world get no visitors at all – then that would suggest it’s equally unexplored.
Anyway, enough of that and on to writing. I was reminded that Elmore Leonard’s ‘guide’ to writing – 10 Rules of Writing – has come out in paperback this week. It’s amusing/sad/slightly worrying how vitriolic some of the comments are about this book, which at 96 pages is little more than a newspaper article that has been published in book form – if Elmore were a little younger he probably would have published it on his blog rather than in dead tree format.
Like a lot of writers, I’ve read my share of these self-help books penned by the famous and not so famous and at the end of reading my last one realised that you can’t learn how to write from a book. Don’t get me wrong, they can be very inspirational and often have good advice, but as an author, the critical thing is simple: write.
Another malaise with the modern age is how many things demand attention now – email, blogs, myface, twitspot, all vying for eyeball time. And so much of it basic time-wasting. A telling thing is the fact that I have to turn email and skype off in order to get anything done at all, the bouncing icon in the dock so much bright, shiny paper distracting me from getting things done.
So, the advice I’d give writers is almost as simple as the single word I typed above, with a caveat: write, and turn off everything else that gets in the way.
Oh, and if you like Stephen King, I found his On Writing particularly inspirational for my own work.