I published my first book in 2013. It was a children’s picture book.
At that time I thought I would keep writing picture books. I felt out of sorts when my second book was not a picture book.
He does everything.
I knew that he had written Coraline. I had read the book and seen the movie and liked it a lot.
Then I saw him appear on Youtube with a wonderful commencement speech.
Then, I read American Gods.
How is that possible?
Then it seems he writes many other things.
He takes the time to write short stories.
Hold the phone–
He began his career writing comic books.
And before that he was a journalist.
And it was as a journalists that he learned to write fast and under a deadline.
What I did was work as a journalist. It forced me to write, to write in quantity, to write to deadline. It forced me to get better than I was, very fast.
Oh, and P.S. he didn’t go to college.
HE. DIDN’T. GO. TO. COLLEGE.
And yet he has an honorary Doctorate.
Oh, and now he does audiobooks.
Yes, his books aren’t made into audiobooks.
But not only that….He narrates them.
And he does pictures books
Now he’s just showing off.
My favorite book of his is, Fortunately the Milk.
Just wonderful. I remember reading it and thinking “Man, this is the book I wanted to write.”
(Seriously I can’t recommend this book enough. Just pure joy from start to finish.)
Here’s what I learned from reading his books and reading about his career.
Write many different things.
Learn to write fast.
Be creative in different domains
Enjoy the process of writing.
I’ll leave you with his eight rules of writing. Very beneficial for anyone trying to write.
- Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
- Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
- Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
- Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
- Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
- Laugh at your own jokes.
- The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.