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100 words on writing

For lazy, restful Saturdays, I am introducing posts on different topics that are exactly 100 words each. I know that Len Penzo does this but it looked like such good fun that I decided to have a go. These short pieces gave me great pleasure to write and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Writing is like prospecting for gold. You have to get up every morning and keep doing it with the hope that this will be the day when you will find gold. Inevitably, it is a ‘dirty’ job and there is much more mud than gold; you are not looking for mud but for the occasional nugget of gold.

Successful writers learn early on two things: 1) that they ought to focus on the gold and accept the mud as a necessary by-product; and 2) the wisdom to distinguish between gold and mud. There is always hard work and pain.

12 thoughts on “100 words on writing”

  1. I trust that I read 100 words on writing. I was going to count but then it makes it seem like I don’t believe you and that would be like mud to your credibility. Being that I believe you (Yakezie) I am sending you a “gold”en answer that might not be 100 words but is a thoughtful response from NYC to the good ole UK.

  2. Some of the best reading is the fron page of The Wall Street Journal. I like reading the summaries because it gives you an overview of the article, if I am interested I will read further. I like the 100 word idea, I just might write a few of my own.;)

    • @MUM: I always tell my PhD students that if they can’t set out their thesis on a page they don’t have one. Oh, and I am a social scientist. But good writing is like dancing the tango – full of passion and no un-necessary moves.

  3. So hard to do. I have a quote from Steven King to share.

    “Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggest cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings)…I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: “Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.”

  4. LOL! I learnt it the hard way when writing a thesis that came out 3 times as long as the target.

    It really makes me about the right words to use!

    The book I was quoting from is ‘On writing’ ISBN 978-0340820469. The author is Stephen King. I’m blushing as I realise I didn’t check before doing my first comment. Highly recommended.


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