Jeff speaks to his readers as friends. He provides a systematic approach to writing that works! And he tested it himself as he wrote his first book. H...moreJeff speaks to his readers as friends. He provides a systematic approach to writing that works! And he tested it himself as he wrote his first book. His book is sprinkled with positive affirmations, such as "when you're done this this book, you'll write ten times faster than you did before." That's the kind of promise that keeps me reading. Even now I'm writing faster than I normally do because he told me to. "Don't let yourself get stuck," he says. "You can always change it later." I love this advice. It frees me to keep writing. He tells his writing readers to begin with a central idea, something that can be stated in one sentence or less. And simple is better. This is essential before beginning the process of writing.
He explains how to break your writing down into manageable chunks and then you move FAST.
From here he goes on to explain the details of the FAST system. He describes a method which he calls "talktation--taking your words onto the page, your fingers in sync with your thoughts." He encourages writers to smile while they write--to enjoy the writing process. The reader will be able to see the smile on your face.
"There is no right or wrong," he says when talking about writing. There's only clear or unclear. Effective or ineffective. Every idea and every word transfers to the reader's head, and that's what we need to be concerned about--that we're getting our ideas from the page to the reader. He reminds us that reading words about pictures makes them pop into the reader's head, so in the last phases of writing, we can evaluate whether or not all the pictures are the ones that we really want to give the reader.
"Completion means exposing ourselves to criticism," he says. And that's one reason why writers get a little scared at the end, even after conquering hardest part--the getting started part of writing. The writing is a reflection of the writer so it's difficult to not take criticism personally. He reminds us to expect that some will love our writing, some will hate it, and most won't care.
"I want you to become a writing machine," he says. Wow! Me too! It's like he's reading my mind. I'm so impressed when a writer can do that. Jeff tells us to conquer time by working with it, by riding it like a horse. And with the FAST system, he gives us a methodical way to move our process of writing through time quicker. He delivers what he promises. He gives us a means to write FASTer.
He describes our brains as "idea factories," reminding us that we need to write down ideas as soon as they come to us. He suggests collecting them in a BIN (Big Idea Notebook)or on a page or somewhere, anywhere. If we don't capture the slippery things immediately, they escape from us, and we may never get them back.
Jeff reminds readers that it's up to writers to put time into their writing every day to be sure it gets done. He describes a detailed process of how to break writing down into small chunks and provides strategies to get them done as quickly as possible. He insists that we create self-imposed deadlines and that we train ourselves to complete the projects we start. It's usually easier to get started than to complete things.
We each have a unique voice and he encourages writers to forget about comparing ourselves to other writers. Instead he tells us to "Fall in love with words." They're our tools and we need to befriend them. It's a love affair with great rewards, he promises.
Jeff's final advice to writers is that we write every day. Yes, every day, including holidays and weekends! Every day we must write something.
If you're someone who keeps talking about writing, Jeff says you're really just a thinker. Ouch! But if you want to transition from thinking about writing to actually writing, then I highly recommend this book. The FAST system provides a writing method to get you going. Or if you're a writer who just wants to write FASTer, this book provides a method to help you reach your goal. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to write more or write FASTer. Time is running out. Read it NOW. Set deadlines. Write NOW!(less)
DeMoss empowers parents to free their children from the mind-numbing influence of television (TV). It's a must read for every parent who has a TV in t...moreDeMoss empowers parents to free their children from the mind-numbing influence of television (TV). It's a must read for every parent who has a TV in the home. You'll probably decide to keep the TV, but you might look for gadgets like www.TVallowance.com, especially if you have several kids who argue over what to watch.
If you have enough guts to stand up to American peer pressure, your kids will be better readers and communicators, and they'll have more time for friends and homework! Many of the principles in this book apply similarly to computers in today's homes. Parents often get so busy that they don't have the time to step back and see what changes they need to make. DeMoss offers solutions.(less)
Are you a writer? Do you have a book in your head that you haven't put on paper yet? Then you need to display this book prominently on your bookshelf...moreAre you a writer? Do you have a book in your head that you haven't put on paper yet? Then you need to display this book prominently on your bookshelf to remind yourself that you have nothing until you write that book! Start writing now!(less)
"Your time is valuable and so is mine, and we both understand that the hours we spend talking about writing is time we don't spend actually doing it,"...more"Your time is valuable and so is mine, and we both understand that the hours we spend talking about writing is time we don't spend actually doing it," says Stephen King is his book On Writing. King believes in telling the truth in writing, and he tells a hard truth to writers. There are no "magic secrets of writing," he reveals. If you want to be an author, you must write!
"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut," advises King. He reads 70-80 books a year. In case you weren't a math major or your cell phone calculator isn't handy, that's more than a book a week, or, more precisely, a book every four to five days. King is a fiction writer, so he's probably reading the books from start to finish to get the whole story. That's not how I usually read.
Nonfiction readers, like me, are probably more like bees, buzzing around from one flower or book to the next to catch a chapter, coming back again later to read another one. My books are like good friends and I keep them in every room of my home. I go hang out with them when I'm looking for some encouragement or counsel.
If I'm looking for some advice on article writing, I'll go to the bookshelves where my writing books live. I'll fish through, looking at the titles until I find a few good prospects. I appreciate a good table of contents and index in a book. It helps me find what I'm looking for. If I need business advice, I go to those shelves and do the same. If I've already read the book, I can go to my own notes I've written in the first or last blank pages of the book. I learned this note-taking strategy from John Maxwell. This is a great way to create your own personal index of the best quotes and ideas you got out of the book.
That's just what I did with King's book On Writing. Here are some of the best thoughts I got out of the book:
* Question: What should you write about? Answer: Whatever you love to read. What you know makes you unique. Write about it. * "The scariest moment is always just before you start," King says of writing. * There is no ideal writing environment. Don't wait until you have time to go to a conference or stay at a writing colony. Don't wait until after you've taken another writing course. There is no perfect time or place to write. King believes that the interruptions from family members can be used as material in your own works. * You can read anywhere, but it's important to have a stable writing place with a door that stays closed until your daily writing goals are met. Music is also a good way of shutting the world out. * "Writers form themselves into a pyramid," he says, "at the bottom are the bad ones. Above them is a group which is slightly smaller but still large and welcoming; these are the competent writers," and he continues on, "The next level is much smaller. These are the really good writers." * People who buy books are looking for a good story they can read on the airplane--something that echoes of his or her own life. * Description begins with what you want the reader to experience. * When asked how he writes, King replies, "one word at a time." * If you write around 2,000 words a day, you can write 180,000 words in 3 months. A book draft shouldn't take any longer than a season. * "If there's one thing I love about writing more than the rest, it's that sudden flash of insight when you see how everything connects." * Ask four or five people who are "Ideal Readers" of your works to read your drafts and give you their opinion. It's much better to get opinions before the book is published. * "The job boils down to two things: paying attention to how the real people around you behave and then telling the truth about what you see." * Rejection is part of the process. "By the time I was fourteen (and shaving twice a week whether I needed to or not) the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it."
Although I read The Stand many years ago, I never read another book from King until he wrote On Writing. "Writing is magic," says King, where "writer and reader are participating together in a kind of miracle." King is a master writer. I just don't happen to be one of his "ideal readers" since I'm not much interested in fiction scary stuff. He is my friend, however, and On Writing holds a special place in the "K" section among my other writing books.
King mentions that he hopes to meet George Orwell in the afterlife to ask him a question about Animal Farm. I hope I have the chance to meet King in this life to ask him a question or two, and thank him for all his great advice on writing.
"Lift out the top layer of your toolbox--your vocabulary and all the grammar stuff. On the layer beneath go those elements of style." If you don't already have a King book in your collection, start today with On Writing or one of the other books King recommends.
* Elements of Style by Strunk & White * Literary Market Place * Writer's Market
You've just done some reading, so now it's time to order one of these great books, or get back to your writing!(less)
Even though I rarely read fiction, I got this book as a gift months ago and finally decided to read it over Thanksgiving. After the first few chapters...moreEven though I rarely read fiction, I got this book as a gift months ago and finally decided to read it over Thanksgiving. After the first few chapters of tragedy, the book is a gripping vision of Young's experience with God. I highly recommend it!(less)