Oh, the strange notions we hold about talent and quality.
As a kid—if you were lucky—you were encouraged to read a lot of junk. Every week, your parents would take you to the library to fetch a pile of slim paperbacks with shiny, eye-popping covers and curling, thumb-worn pages.
There were nights I’d get in bed and happily read two Piers Anthony books in a row, falling asleep an hour before dawn. I’d spend the following day nodding off in class without the faintest memory of what I’d enjoyed reading so much the night before.
(I didn’t have a bedtime, per se.)
As a parent, I understand it much more clearly now. At first, you’re worried that your children will never learn to read. You read to them every night and get them phonics workbooks and just do everything you can to get them over that hump.
Once they learn to read, you worry that they’ll never like books, and thus never climb the corporate ladder by speed-reading Peter Drucker on the commuter train in from Greenwich. So you try to get them hooked on the process of reading. You think like a drug dealer: how do I get them so addicted to reading that they can never stop? After all, I don’t want them spending every evening of their adult lives trawling Netflix for obscure reality shows. (“I learned it from watching you, Dad!”)
Continue reading “everything you believe about talent and quality is wrong”
Last week’s essay stoked a bit of an uproar. This reaction surprised me. For once, I didn’t intend to piss anyone off.
The gist, if you’re new: quantity is the key contributing factor in commercial success for writers. Not quality, i.e. “talent,” whatever that is.
People took offense, in a social media kind of way.
Continue reading “the quantity-over-quality controversy”
I’ve come to terms with it: commercial success for authors boils down to quantity. That’s it. I wish I could say that talent plays a part, but it doesn’t, guys. It just doesn’t. The writer who wins is the writer who just kept writing.
Here’s the truth: if you figure out how to establish and maintain a heavy, relentless routine for writing, you will find an audience. Maybe not right away, but eventually. (You have to share what you write, of course.)
As you increase your productivity, you will increase your audience. Again, eventually.
Explosive growth comes down to luck, but when you write and share regularly, you make your own luck.
Continue reading “the trick is to write more—much, much, much more”
(A quick note: The inimitable C.C. Chapman interviewed me about writing and editing for his new podcast, Why I Write—check it out.)
I’m bummed, guys. Bummed about blogs. Blogs are dead. “RIP blogging,” for the umpteen millionth time.
To be clear, I don’t mean company blogs or magazine blogs. I mean real blogs by real people where they write about what they’re really interested in. Like Boing Boing and Kottke.org. (Both are still around, but they’re the exceptions that prove the rule.)
We all know it and we’ve known it for years: Twitter and Facebook killed blogs. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook suck.
Continue reading “in 2017 quit everything that annoys you—except this”