Cherry Picked Ideas

Steven Silberman has an interesting post today, entitled “Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors.” The authors are responding to Silberman’s prompt, “What do you wish you’d known about the process of writing a book that you didn’t know before you did it?”

While each author has their own great tips, here are the ones I liked best:

  • Be ready to amputate entire chapters. It will be painful. – Carl Zimmer
  • There’s no such thing as too many drafts. There’s no such thing as too much time spent. – David Shenk
  • Obsessive-compulsive organizational habits are your bestfriend. – Geoff Manaugh
  • Develop a very serious plan for dealing with internet distractions. – Ben Casnocha
  • Develop a very, very, very serious plan for dealing with internet distractions. – Ben Casnocha
  • This is your time to be completely and justifiably obsessed. So go ahead – bask in the madness. – Peter Conners
  • Just start working and you keep working til it’s done. That’s all there is to it; no mystery. – Nancy Cooper
  • Take the due date for the first draft EXTREMELY seriously, like everything depends on that day. – Sylvia Boorstein
  • Have the courage to write badly. – Josh Shenk
  • Be good to your spouse/partner and protect time for them. They’re in this with you, but unlike you, they didn’t choose it. – Maryn McKenna

You can read all of the tips (and get links to books by all these authors) on Steve’s original post. Find it here.

Do novelists lie?

“Novelists tell that piece of truth hidden at the bottom of every lie. To a psychoanalyst it is not so important whether you tell the truth or a lie because lies are as interesting, eloquent, and revealing as any claimed truth.” — Italo Calvino