Author, YouTuber, VidCon-co-creator Hank Green distills the 8 things he wishes he knew when he was writing his first novel.
There are lots of gems in his 4-minute video that apply beyond fiction-writing.
Here are the 6 that apply best to any writer:
You have to care about whatever you’re writing about.
“I had to love [the book characters] like friends in order to have the motivation to finish telling their story.”
How does this apply to you over there—writing about a restaurant point-of-sale technology or a B2B solution?
Takeaway for Marketing: Find the human at the center of the story. Write that. How technology helps a single human is always more interesting than the tech itself.
[Related: Vivid Writing: How to Paint a Picture in the Mind of Your Reader.]
Schedules don’t matter, but momentum does.
“Writing schedules are not a thing I have… but if I do not write at least a thousand words a week the story leaves my brain I no longer think about it in the shower or when I’m taking a walk and starting back up again becomes a whole process for me…”
Takeaway for Marketing: One sentence a day is better than trying to binge-write once a week.
The most important part of writing is often not writing.
“Not all writing is writing… it’s thinking, staring, researching, stressing, reading other people’s books, reading your own book again, reading stuff that you’ve already written… all that stuff is writing.”
Flow don’t fix.
“To go back and fix that exact same thing again takes a thousand years to look it up and fix… so I just created a folder in my project file and it’s called things to change and it’s just full of stuff I need to change so that I don’t miss it in revision.”
Takeaway for Marketing: Don’t self-edit the thing while you’re writing the thing.
[Related: Taking Your Writing from So-So to Stellar.]
Write what you’re excited about right now.
“You don’t have to write linearly… if I’m excited about a scene I’d go and I write that scene and it doesn’t matter if it’s gonna take place like at the last quarter of the book and I’m in the first quarter.”
Writing is writing is writing.
Takeaway for Marketing: Video scripts. Social media. Emails. It all rolls up into writing: “Using my expertise and my passions has been deeply enabling.” (Not just enabling – deeply enabling.)
Four minutes worthy of your time:
Lisa Sicard says
Thanks Hank and Ann, Love that writing what excites you NOW is the key to successful writing. I also loved your tip to not edit while you are writing. That is something I tend to do which slows the process down and probably cuts back on the excitement factory. Thank you!!
Olorunfemi Adeyemo says
I like the part that says, the most important part of writing is not writing! It shows how much a writer must invest in research!
Love the article, I to am very opposed to social media and the article is very uplifting. Great to share this information thanks.