Some Thoughts on Writing

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately. I’ve read some advice that various writers, in particular Neil Gaiman, give to aspiring writers. As I thought about it I came to some realizations.

First, writing is difficult. If it were easy, everyone would do it. The difficult part is thinking. Everyone has random thoughts. They are interesting to them but not necessarily to anyone else. The trick is to think about things that other people find interesting.

Many writers advise to write about things that you feel passionate about. It seems that this is the best way to write things that interest other people.

Another common piece of advice is to write a lot. And then write some more. This is very good advice. The only way that you learn to do something is to practice doing it.

One thing that I read recently surprised me. The author said that he doesn’t recommend that his students “write what they know”. He goes on to explain that when they try to follow that advice novice writers tend to report their experiences as they happened instead of exploring the infinite possibilities of what might have been. A work of fiction is an exploration of an imaginary place inhabited by imaginary characters, not a recapitulation of reality.

So much for capturing some of the advise about writing that I have collected and thought about recently. It only took me three days to wrap this post up.