Good Article on Writing

Even non-writers will benefit from reading Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction. We all work on on computers, a few clicks away from a universe of distraction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working on a project when I pull up Google to research something that I need clarification on, only to discover some terribly interesting that I just have to read, which leads to something else, which leads to…you get the idea.

He also makes the point that “realtime communications tools are deadly”, which I’ve always agreed with. Whenever possible I’ve tried to avoid instant messaging while at work. I’ve used it, of course, when dealing with an outside development team or whatever – that makes sense. But once it’s installed and open, the temptation is huge to let friends or family get in touch with you, and it’s all downhill from there. I’m the same about phone calls. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been struggling with a complex problem, only to have to take an important call. By the time I get off the phone, the strands that I was trying to untangle are knotted again.

Back to writing, and another awesome resource that has benefit to non-writers as well: Stephen King’s On Writing.  He is one of my favourite writers, and at his best I think that he is one of the best writers alive. His writing is beautiful without being overly clever or literary in a “look at me!” way. In 1996 he was awarded the O. Henry Prize for his story “The Man in the Black Suit”. It and the story “The Last Rung on the Ladder” are two of my favourite non-horror short stories that he’s written. Plain and perfect.



3 thoughts on “Good Article on Writing”

  • Hey, good article by Cory D; I really like him. There’s a sci-fi podcast called Escape Pod he used to submit material to. Maybe he was even involved with its production; can’t remember.

    Also, I have the audiobook of On Writing. Very enjoyable. Stephen King’s writing has always appealed but some of his earlier stuff is a bit too wordy. Doesn’t really take away from the story–I just skim the excess as I’m reading. Of people alive today, he’s probably one of the top ten I think it would be fascinating to have dinner and three hours’ conversation with.

  • Stephen King is an old friend of my boss. At the office we have a signed a personalized first edition hardcover of Eyes of the Dragon inscribed to my boss that King gave him.

    I’ve never met him, but I’m hoping it will happen at some point.

  • I would love to meet him – he seems like a really decent, down-to-earth guy. I don’t know if he’s still playing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, but I’ve always wanted to catch one of their shows. Such an awesome concept for a band.

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