The Right Way*

Pile of old books.

Somewhere in this most ancient tome, you will discover the secret of writing perfect dialogue and…nah, I’m just fucking with you. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know what I like to do when I’m in a large bookstore? Go into the writing resources section and look at all the books that claim to be the one and only right way to write.** Because there’s a lot. It’s almost like there’s no vetting procedure.

Not going to lie, I’ve read a few. Or more than a few. Because every time I turn around it seems like there’s another one. They’re like Tribbles that way, except at least Tribble are cute.

And it’s not just book stores. This kind of advice is fucking legion. You’ll find it all over the internet as well. Go ahead and google ‘the best way to write a book’. Entertain yourself with the results. I just did it myself, to check and make sure I wasn’t sending you poor innocent souls traipsing through porn sites. And, man, I got pages and pages, all espousing different things.*** Outline. Don’t outline. Write slow. Write fast. Write every day. Write every other day. Write only at a full moon. Write longhand. Write on a computer. Write in this ancient language of hieroglyphs guaranteed to call the attention of the God of Unbelievable Horseshit.

You know what the right way to write is?

The way that gets it fucking done.

The right way is the way that gets your ass to sit at a desk or in front of a computer or behind a pen and write. Words. One after another. And you know what? It’ll probably change. What worked for you on one project may not work on the next. Or maybe you just want to try something new. I’m always experimenting, trying new methods to see if something sings. Always been an outliner? Nothing wrong with trying to get it done without one. Always write in the morning? Let a little darkness into your life.

I’ve got no problem with advice on writing. Hell, I dispense enough of it here. But to claim that there’s only one right way to do it is unmitigated arrogance.

*Yes, I thought about calling it “The Write Way”. And then I felt deeply, deeply ashamed.

**After that, I swing by the religion section and look at all the books promising the one and only right way to live, just for perspective. People avoid the giggling lady in the bookshop, by the way.

***And probably some porn.


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