150 Words of Advice for Writers

Someone complained about writer’s block. I answered:

I’m 80 and I’ve published six nonfiction books in the last seven years (and quite a few others before). A coupla things: (1) Read trash, you can learn a tremendous amount about what good writing sounds like from reading Robert B. Parker, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and many others. (2) Write stuff down. I wrote a book on sports and fitness training. I would come home exhausted from a six- or seven-hour training outing and scribble my blood-red thoughts, then expand and organize them later. Aha, a book chapter. An article. A post. “The best memory is not half so firm as faded ink.” (Chinese saying) (3) Write crap. NOBODY IS WATCHING, and if they find it after you die, YOU WON’T CARE. (4) Write about stuff you give a damn about. Go for long walks and find the deepest innermost core of your heart.

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