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Writing Advice (and Writer Quirks!) from Chris Brogan

Chris roarChris Brogan is one of the most entertaining, accessible, generous and media savvy people I've ever encountered.

I adore him.

In case you don't know Chris, he's the president & CEO of Human Business Works, a media and education company providing tools and smarts so professionals can do the work they want, only better. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of four books.

When I asked Chris if he had any writer quirks he'd like to share with my blog readers, the guy shot back an email within a minute (as he always has). 

I did say "accessible" and "generous", right?

Oh, and funny! My God, how could I forget that.

Without further ado, I give you Chris Brogan...sharing not only his writer quirks, but also some fantastic writing advice:

Quirks, she says. Janet wants my quirks.

Okay. Here's a list, in no particular order:

* I must edit while I write. I can't do what smart writers do and edit later. It just doesn't work. I MUST (MUST!) go back and fix typos and rewrite while I'm in the first draft.

* In fact, there's never a second draft.

Trust Agents 300* When Julien Smith and I wrote Trust Agents, we wrote about 130 pages, and then threw it away when we realized we wanted to write the book a different way. Julien wanted to save the pages. I can't do that. In my life and in my writing, I must start fresh when the mistake is too big.

* I write about 4000 words a day. Where they go depends on what I'm doing: a book, a course, some newsletter stuff. It goes all over. But I keep the habit going, so that I can produce when I have to.

* You can't wait for the Muse. Write and she'll show up when she's ready. But if you wait for her, you're not an author. You're a hopeful. You can't wait for the muse.

* Learn grammar. Then forget it.

* Look for your quirky repetitive bits and remove them. I use "things" a lot when I don't really know which word to use. That becomes like a stutter or an "um" in the larger story.

* Write a strong beginning, middle, and end. People mess up on the ends. All the time.

* Never mistake the value of storytelling. It is huge. Never leave it behind for other temptations.

* I dress pretty much like a fat Mark Zuckerberg. I wear a hoodie and jeans and a tee shirt most every day that I don't have a speech or some other reason to dress like a grown-up.

* The best book ever on writing is who cares? Write. You'll never get it from a book. (Well, King's On Writing is the best of that kind, but it's because he says what I said, only maybe nicer.) 

Impact equationUm, wow. Is this fabulous advice or what, dear readers? (Hey, Chris, I wear pajama pants and T-shirts every day! But I'm not divulging my writer quirks until a later date...) 

In case you live under a rock, Chris is out with a brand new book that's sure to help writers (and anyone trying to affect or influence an audience). I bought my copy months ago, in fact. It's called The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise

And, seriously? Considering what I witness on social media every day, I really think many of you need this book. Not trying to be rude or anything, honest. Like Chris, I want you to create, thrive and make an impact.

Not be a pain-in-the-ass carnival barker lacking substance, passion or relevance. You don't want that either, right?

So don't just get yourself a copy of The Impact Equation, but also visit ChrisBrogan.com. Remember that generosity I mentioned? Chris freely gives helpful, sometimes life-changing, advice on his website, podcast and via his newsletter. 

He makes an impact. And I'm grateful.

-- Janet

Comments

Craig Conley

Great, great quirks and tips!

Janet Boyer

Aren't they fab, Craig? And 4,000 words a day! Gah. I probably do have a daily word count close to that with blogging, emails and such...but to have 4,000 focused, dedicated words? Like, on my novel? Wow. Something to shoot for! (Do you keep a writing regimen, btw?)

Craig Conley

Like Chris, I revise as I go, and in fact I even lay out text and illustrations as I write because it brings the project out of draft form and into future reality. I tend to visualize the published page as I compose. I don't adhere to a strict word count per day, but I sure do admire Chris' 4,000-per-day!

Janet Boyer

That makes sense, since a lot of your books are heavy on illustrations. :o)

When I'm writing fiction, I draw maps (bookstore, amusement park, etc.). In fact, Ron bought me a piece of poster-board so he could transfer my scribbles into a bona fide Wonder Seasons Park!

Aartiana.wordpress.com

I love the part where Chris says he edits right then and there. I have to do it that way too. I often revise it a few times since my ideas are totally complicated when they come out of my head, often with so many side-tracks of back-information. So I let it sit, then revise with fresh eyes. Thanks again for posting these Janet - that had to be fun! :-)

Janet Boyer

Hi Aartiana!

I, too, edit as a I go. Works great for non-fiction...not so great with fiction. Ack! :o)

So glad you like these Writer Quirk features, btw.

Chatting with Chris is always a blast; such a genuine, nice, insightful guy!

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