anonymous asked: I’ve made a goal to write everyday but I’m unsure of an appropriate daily word count goal. For now I’m sticking to short stories, I’m not writing a novel. I don’t know if I should go with 200 words or 300 words a day (or anything you can suggest).
It’s hard for us to answer that question because we don’t know anything about you. You could be retired and have a whole lot of time to write. You could be working two jobs. We have no idea how much time you have available, and therefore can’t suggest a daily word count.
How much you write depends on a lot of stuff: which draft are you on (for me, first drafts are fast because I don’t care about what I’m putting on the page, but final drafts take way longer), how well you understand your material, how experienced you are, your efficacy in general, etc.
What’s important is learning to manage your own time. Check out this post for some advice on time management. Much of this is experimentation. If you set yourself a limit of 300 words and find you’re hitting it really easily, consider upping your goal to 400 or 500. Just figure it out based on your own habits and systems.
- O


This is strange and entertaining. I neither agree or disagree with the following. I just thought it interesting.


Back in college, my friend Sanket and I would hang out in bars and try to talk to women but I was horrible at it. Nobody would talk to me for more than thirty seconds, and every woman would laugh at all his jokes for what seemed like hours. Even decades later I think they are still laughing at his jokes. One time he turned to me and said, “The girls are getting bored when you talk. Your stories go on too long. From now on, you need to leave out every other sentence when you tell a story.” We were both undergrads in Computer Science. I haven’t seen him since, but that’s the most important writing (and communicating) advice I ever got.

33 other tips for being a better writer

Write whatever you want. Then take out the first paragraph and last paragraph. Here’s the funny thing about this rule. It’s sort of like knowing the future. You still can’t change it. In other words, even if you know this rule and write the article, the article will still be better if you take out the first paragraph and the last paragraph.

Take a huge bowel movement every day. And you won’t see that on any other list on how to be a better writer. If your body doesn’t flow then your brain won’t flow. Eat more fruit if you have to.

Bleed in the first line. We’re all human. A computer can win Jeopardy but can’t write a novel. If you want people to relate to you, then you have to be human. Penelope Trunk started a post a few weeks ago: “I smashed a lamp over my head. There was blood everywhere. And glass. And I took a picture.” That’s real bleeding. My wife recently put up a post where the first line was so painful she had to take it down. Too many people were crying.

Don’t ask for permission. In other words, never say “in my opinion” (or worse “IMHO”). We know it’s your opinion. You’re writing it.

Write a lot. I spent the entire 90s writing bad fiction. 5 bad novels. Dozens of bad stories. But I learned to handle massive rejection. And how to put two words together. In my head, I won the Pulitzer Prize. But in my hand, over 100 rejection letters.

Read a lot. You can’t write without first reading. A lot. When I was writing five bad novels in a row, I would read all day long whenever I wasn’t writing (I had a job as a programmer, which I would do for about five minutes a day because my programs all worked and I just had to “maintain” them). I read everything I could get my hands on.

Read before you write. Before I write every day, I spend 30-60 minutes reading high quality short stories, poetry, or essays. Books by Denis Johnson, Miranda July, David Foster Wallace, Ariel Leve, William Vollmann, Raymond Carver, etc. All the writers are in the top 1/1000 of 1% of writers. It has to be at that level, or else it won’t lift up your writing at all.

Coffee. I go through three cups at least before I even begin to write. No coffee, no creativity.

Break the laws of physics. There’s no time in text. Nothing has to go in order. Don’t make it nonsense. But don’t be beholden to the laws of physics. This post on my personal blog is an example.

Be honest. Tell people the stuff they all think but nobody ever says. Some people will be angry you let out the secret. But most people will be grateful. Otherwise, you aren’t delivering value. Be the little boy in The Emperor Wears No Clothes. If you can’t do this, don’t write.

Don’t hurt anyone. This goes against the above rule. But I never like to hurt people. And I don’t respect people who get pageviews by breaking this rule. Don’t be a bad guy. Was Buddha a Bad Father? — another one from my blog — addresses this.

Don’t be afraid of what people think. For each single person you worry about, deduct 1% in quality from your writing. Everyone has deductions. I have to deduct about 10% right off the top. Maybe there’s 10 people I’m worried about. Some of them are evil people. Some of them are people I just don’t want to offend. So my writing is only about 90% of what it could be. But I think most people write at about 20% of what it could be. Believe it or not, clients, customers, friends, family — they’ll love you more if you are honest with them. So we all have our boundaries. But try this: for the next ten things you write, tell people something that nobody knows about you.

Be opinionated. Most people I know have strong opinions about at least one or two things. Write about those. Nobody cares about all the things you don’t have strong opinions on. Barry Ritholz told me the other day he doesn’t start writing until he’s angry about something. That’s one approach. Barry and I have had some great writing fights because sometimes we’ve been angry at each other.

Have a shocking title. I blew it the other day. I wanted to title this piece “How I torture women” but I settled for “I’m guilty of torture.” I wimped out. But I have some other fun ones. Like “is it bad I wanted my first kid to be aborted” (which the famous Howard Lindzon cautioned me against). Don’t forget that you are competing against a trillion other pieces of content out there. So you need a title to draw people in. Else you lose.

Steal. I don’t quite mean it literally. But if you know a topic gets pageviews (and you aren’t hurting anyone) then steal it, no matter who’s written about it or how many times you’ve written about it before. “How I Screwed Yasser Arafat out of $2mm was able to nicely piggyback off of how amazingly popular Yasser Arafat is.

Make people cry. If you’ve ever been in love, you know how to cry. Bring readers to that moment when they were a child, and all of life was in front of them, except for that one bittersweet moment when everything began to change. If only that one moment could’ve lasted forever. Take them back to that moment.

Read More



A little while back I got (constructive) criticism from a publisher telling me that they thought the beginning of my manuscript was too “telly”. I didn’t quite understand what they meant at first, so I spent some time going over my writing. The manuscript is written in first person and in the present tense, so I found it difficult to not be “telly”. How do you SHOW more of the action when everything that is happening is in the present and you’re in the main character’s head at all times?

When you’re in the editing stages, it can be a daunting task to fix something like that. How do you change your narration from being too “telly” and start showing things more effectively? Most writers know about the rule “Show, don’t tell”, but it can be difficult to grasp. You need to find a way to evoke the right emotions in the reader without TELLING them how to feel.

Showing instead of telling could be as simple as saying “Her teeth chattered and her nose was frostbitten” instead of “It was brutally cold out”. When you show people what your main character is feeling, that comes across much better than telling them. The readers will get an understanding of who your character is and what they’re going through if you find a creative way to show it. This also helps a lot with character development.

You need to both show and tell effectively to produce a good novel. It can be very hard, especially in the beginning of a novel, to draw readers in without this balance. You need to draw the reader in during the first couple chapters, but you need to show them what’s happening and where the narrative might lead. The first chapter is supposed to set up the story, so you’ll want to tell the readers what’s going on, but you won’t want to bore them. Don’t just describe your characters and what they’re like, you need to show it.

-Kris Noel

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Source: fictionwritingtips


Sometimes, when you sit down to continue with what you were writing yesterday, or the day before, it can be difficult to rediscover your motivation for it.

Here’s my 4 top tips for helping to maintain your motivation from writing session to writing session:

  1. When you finish a writing session, don’t finish at the end of a chapter, or the end of a section. Stop writing right in the middle of something so that you can easily pick up where you left off next time.
  2. Read back over what you wrote last time to get back into the world of your story.
  3. Find your favourite section of your writing so far, and re-read it to remind yourself of what it was that excited you about the story in the first place.
  4. Finish each writing session by leaving some notes of what you want to achieve in your next writing session.

Good luck!

Source: writingbox

Source: itunes-u



The entire writing process is fraught with perils. Many writers would argue that the hardest part of writing is beginning.

When asked what was the most frightening thing he had ever encountered, novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “A blank sheet of paper.”

Other writers believe that ideas are easy, it’s in the execution of those ideas that the hard work really begins. You have to show up every day and slowly give shape to your ideas, trying to find just the right words, searching for the right turn of phrase, until it all morphs into something real.

Then comes the wait to discover how your writing will be received. Chilean author Isabel Allende once said that writing a book is like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You never know if it will reach any shores.

So just how do you go about facing an empty page, coaxing your ideas into the world of form, and steering the end result toward shore? You can start by studying the tips and advice from writers presented below.

Read More →




Tumblr Tuesday: National Novel Writing Month
NaNoWriMoThe official blog of writing an entire novel in November, NBD.
NaNoWriMo All YearThe unofficial fan-run Tumblr that brings you inspiration 24/7/365.
Fuck Your Writing HabitsWriting advice made with much tougher love.
Go Book YourselfFlawless recommendations for those of us just looking for something to read.
The National Book FoundationThe literary org that gives out the National Book Awards this month.
Photo by CMonteith via FuckYourWritingHabits.

Oh thanks Tumblr!



Tumblr Tuesday: National Novel Writing Month

The official blog of writing an entire novel in November, NBD.

NaNoWriMo All Year
The unofficial fan-run Tumblr that brings you inspiration 24/7/365.

Fuck Your Writing Habits
Writing advice made with much tougher love.

Go Book Yourself
Flawless recommendations for those of us just looking for something to read.

The National Book Foundation
The literary org that gives out the National Book Awards this month.

Photo by CMonteith via FuckYourWritingHabits.

Oh thanks Tumblr!

Source: staff

Anonymous asked: "No advice for NaNoWriMo participants this year?"

Did you need advice? 

In my experience, you’re either going to do NaNo or you’re not. Nothing we say is going to make much of a difference. 

But I hope you do do NaNo, because it is a wonderful experience. And there’s some great advice up there in those links if you need it. 

Thanks for your question!