myth seven — you must write what you know.

my first novel was about two young girls accused of a terrorist attack in ireland. i’ve never lived in ireland. i’ve never been accused of terrorism. i hope. i’ve never committed an act of terrorism. and i’ve never been in the police force, irish or otherwise. i have never experienced a suicide bombing. or witnessed one in person.

but somehow i managed to write a book about this. and about a plane crash. and the fall of the berlin wall. just as examples.

writing what you know is a fantastic way to produce boring diatribes filled with minutia that nobody is interested enough to read. we call them academic journals. write what you don’t know. there’s a reason we call it creative and not journalism.


myth eight — don’t write like you speak.

write like you speak. it’s more natural, it’s faster, and it’s easier to read it if you can think of it being pronounced aloud.

you’re not james joyce. please don’t try to be. don’t write like other people speak — write like you speak.

if you don’t like how that sounds, fix how you speak. then write. don’t fake it.


myth nine — use a pen. it’s more natural.

it’s not. use the damned computer already.

it’s faster, it’s easier, you can write many things at a time, and backups can be fast and even automated. so it’s safer. and you can edit, share, and comment. instantly.

if you don’t have a computer, there’s nothing wrong with using a pen. there’s nothing wrong with using a pen, even if you have a computer.

but don’t be afraid of the keyboard.

it’s not sacrilegious to write creatively on a machine. shakespeare would have done it. i guarantee it.