Category: Writing

Secret to Writing

There’s no real secret to writing. There’s no trick that will make it easier, or that will make you a famous writer. I get asked about the secrets and tricks often, and when I respond that the only real secret I know is hard work the requester becomes silent and wanders off to the next writer.

Discipline is the most important “trick” I know. It’s the thing that has allowed me to produce two books, and to have written several more, as well as several short stories and magazine articles. But I know new writers want to know what works and what doesn’t work, so below are a few “tricks” or “secrets” to writing:

  1. Discipline – Finish what you start. Write as often as you can. Don’t give up. Don’t stop.
  2. Read – You’ll hear this one over and over. Very few writers become good writers if they don’t read. Read books that are out of your genre. Read books by people from different cultures, races, from another sex. You can’t write about people if you don’t understand them. Read books on writing too. They don’t have any secrets, but if you get something useful from each book on writing you read, soon you’ll have a mental library of tools.
  3. Keep a notebook – Sometimes I email myself ideas when I don’t have a notebook nearby, but I always have a notebook for every project. I come up with the best ideas when I’m away from the keyboard.
  4. Be Tough – Those who produce little are the ones who love to trash those of us who do. You’ll have to have a strong backbone to endure criticism. Find a way to ignore criticism from those who simply are jealous, and learn to listen to criticism that will help you as a writer. You’ll never be perfect. No writer was ever perfect. Find the best authors in history and you’ll see that at least 10% of reviewers trash them on Amazon.
  5. Write – I mentioned this under discipline, but it’s important enough to mention again. Write something every day. Even something like this blog post.

Now that I’ve shared a few tips, I suggest going out and learning what works for you.

Eight Days – a novel

Eight DaysScott Thompson author
Clive Kinsella lived a good life. He had a family who loved him and he was never without a job, a place to live, or a warm meal. But Clive died unfulfilled. Despite all his gifts he could only see what he didn’t have. He never wrote for a big newspaper in a big city. He never traveled the world. In fact, he never got out of his small Southern town. And … he never faced the ghosts that haunted him.

At his own funeral Clive meets Pachu, his grandfather who had died years before, and with Pachu he begins a journey through his life where he has to finally face his greatest regrets and agonies. But, if Clive can’t overcome his regrets he’ll be forced to wander the place between Heaven and Earth.

Each day Clive revisits events in life in a sort of spiritual recording, the same events that took him from being an optimistic young man to a curmudgeon. For every day he overcomes he gets to visit a place on earth he never saw before, and the reader is taken to places like Half Dome in Yosemite and Venice, where Pachu and Clive discuss existence and the meaning of life.

After his eight days Clive takes on one final challenge of life in a climb to the top of a mountain above an enchanted valley, where the gate to eternity awaits. In Heaven Clive meets loved ones who had gone before him, and the events of his life come together to make him the man he’ll be for eternity.

Get Eight Days on Amazon

What Was Mine Is Now Yours

I read an interview with Paul McCartney the other day, and he was talking about the meaning of a song he wrote with the Beatles. When he was writing the song he was inspired by events of that time. What it meant to him, the writer of the song, was completely different from the meaning the song had for me. But, you know, that’s okay. Art is supposed to be subjective. Like my friend, Dr. Leverett Butts, once said to me, “It doesn’t matter what the author meant. It matters what they said.” And, what the creator of a work says will be heard differently by different people.

In about a month my new novel, Eight Days, will be released. Many events in my life inspired the book, and I saw what I needed to see while writing, but when others read the book it will have different meanings to them. And, for some, it will mean nothing. That’s fine too. Every single creative work isn’t meant to appeal to everyone. But for some it will have meaning, and the book will then be their story. Or maybe it will be your book. What was mine will soon be yours.