I’m not a big fan of “how-to” lists. On the other hand I am a big fan of Patti Digh and think there’s much to be said for a good rant from time-to-time. So her post on how to write gets a free pass from me. Here’s how it starts:
Don’t set out to write a book. Form is not content. Let’s say that again: FORM IS NOT CONTENT. A book is nothing more than a commodification of ideas. Start with the ideas, the emotions, the thing you most long to say. If you don’t know, the writing itself will help surface what it is you want to say, but sitting still and waiting for a book to spring fully formed from your forehead will never happen. Will. Never. Happen. Listening to what other people have to say also won’t help. Good god, no wonder we all have writer’s block. We’re not even writing. Plumbers don’t have plumber’s block, do they? NO, THEY GET ON THE FLOOR AND CLEAR OUT THE WINDEX AND EVIDENCE OF MOUSE POOP UNDER THE SINK AND GET TO PLUMBING
Makes lots of sense to me.