How to be a better writer

A great article by the SF author and blogger Cory Doctorow (Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother and lots more).

This isn’t about verbs or nouns or any of those other things that I don’t understand. It is practical advice about how to write when you constantly have the internet distracting you. Cory is focused on creating a page a day of his novel but it applies equally to anyone who wants to produce a blog post everyday or a GM who needs to churn out an adventure every week.

Don’t be ceremonious

Forget advice about finding the right atmosphere to coax your muse into the room. Forget candles, music, silence, a good chair, a cigarette, or putting the kids to sleep. It’s nice to have all your physical needs met before you write, but if you convince yourself that you can only write in a perfect world, you compound the problem of finding 20 free minutes with the problem of finding the right environment at the same time. When the time is available, just put fingers to keyboard and write. You can put up with noise/silence/kids/discomfort/hunger for 20 minutes.

Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction


  1. I feel terribly ashamed, reading that, that I have not touched a lot of my writing projects in a long time because of my Author ADD. Though this worked out for some good as I got into blogging by wasting time on the internet…

    Wyatt´s last blog post..You Don’t Have To Run And Hide

  2. Excellent advice!

    When I was in high school, I finished my first and currently only novella-length story. Most of that wasn’t done in my room with guitar and panpipes in the background, or seated at the picture window with the dogs outside. It was in the classroom, scrawling my way through yet another few pages after I finished the day’s work; seated outside one of the portables in the early Oregon winter morning, my back to the wall, waiting for the teacher to show up and let me in; balancing the paper on a folder on my lap on the bus, hoping like anything a sudden bump wouldn’t make a mess of my earlier words.

    And if you’re willing to put up with transcription lag, you’d be amazed at what a notebook and an hour-long commute on mass transit can do for your ability to write. Who needs ambiance when you can just have ‘not at the computer’?

    Ravyn´s last blog post..Engaging Secondary Characters: Socratic Characterization

Comments are closed.