Back to Home

So You Think You Can Write?

Fear of being a bad writer is probably at the top of my list of fears. I try not to spend a lot of time on such negative thoughts, but honestly, it’s a big one for any aspiring writer, right? One of my friends went off to start a publishing company. He’s getting his masters in fine arts (MFA). What right did I have to think I could become a writer? I didn’t have an MFA.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to write computer software. At the time, few people knew what software was—maybe they heard about computers from an episode of Star Trek. After entering college I witnessed the early success of people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. So I decided to start a software company. Friends and family thought I was crazy. “Do you know the odds of a start-up making it to profitability?” they would ask me. I started the company in my dorm room. I had so much fun, I dropped out of college. I grew the company to over fifty employees and the company earns millions in revenue each year to this day. I’m not telling you this to boast. I’m telling you this because I simply pursued my dream and I made it. So this is why I think I can make it as a writer.

And I want your dream to come true too. And the dream after that.

So before I started writing my story, I started my research and learning to become a good writer. I want to fill this blog with posts about all the things I learned and all the great tips I want to pass on to you. So let me start with one: Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. The first theme that grabbed my attention from this excellent book was the idea to write the story like a movie script. This is exactly what I wanted to achieve. It was exciting to learn that this writing technique could lead to “good” writing.

This idea unlocked the floodgates of my creativity. The story flowed out of my brain and into Microsoft Word. Everything was going well. But when I finished the first draft, my test readers commented that my characters were flat and single-dimensional. After more research, I realized that the goal of writing like a movie script actually led me to start a bad habit in my writing, preventing the characters from coming alive. I’ll describe the bad habit and how I overcame it in my next post.

What book inspired you early in your writing?