Tag Archives: lists

Stephen King on Writing Successfully

It took Steph­en King ten minutes to learn how to have a suc­cess­ful and fin­an­cially reward­ing career writ­ing fic­tion and he believes he can teach us the same in ten minutes, too.

King–author of count­less nov­els and the much-lauded book on the craft, On Writ­ing–starts with a short story of his youth fol­lowed by twelve tips pro­fess­ing to teach us everything we need to know about writ­ing suc­cess­fully:

  1. Be tal­en­ted: If you’re not tal­en­ted, you won’t suc­ceed. And if you’re not suc­ceed­ing, you should know when to quit. When is that? I don’t know. It’s dif­fer­ent for each writer. Not after six rejec­tion slips, cer­tainly, nor after sixty. But after six hun­dred? Maybe. After six thou­sand? My friend, after six thou­sand pinks, it’s time you tried paint­ing or com­puter pro­gram­ming.
  2. Be neat
  3. Be self-crit­ic­al
  4. Remove every extraneous word
  5. Nev­er look at a ref­er­ence book while doing a first draft: Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaur­us is the wrong word.
  6. Know the mar­kets
  7. Write to enter­tain: If you want to preach, get a soap­box.
  8. Ask your­self fre­quently, “Am I hav­ing fun?”: The answer need­n’t always be yes. But if it’s always no, it’s time for a new pro­ject or a new career.
  9. How to eval­u­ate cri­ti­cism
  10. Observe all rules for prop­er sub­mis­sion
  11. An agent? For­get it. For now
  12. If it’s bad, kill it: When it comes to people, mercy killing is against the law. When it comes to fic­tion, it is the law.

That story King shares ends with an anec­dote related dir­ectly to tip four:

Until that day in John Gould’s little office, I had been writ­ing first drafts of stor­ies which might run 2,500 words. The second drafts were apt to run 3,300 words. Fol­low­ing that day, my 2,500-word first drafts became 2,200-word second drafts. And two years after that, I sold the first one.

Derek Sivers’ Book List

Derek Sivers’ book recom­mend­a­tions con­tin­ue to be some of the most well matched to my own tastes.

Infre­quently updated, Derek Sivers’ book list provides a tiny sum­mary of his recent reads, fol­lowed by extens­ive notes he has taken from each: some­what sim­il­ar to my cur­rent pro­cess, now that Amazon’s Kindle has com­pletely trans­formed my read­ing and note-tak­ing habits.

In addi­tion to the extens­ive book list itself, Sivers lists elev­en of his top recom­mend­a­tions (some that I would change, oth­ers that I’ve heard con­tra­dict­ing views on, but a great start­ing point non­ethe­less):

User Experience Design Tips

Inspired by Mat­thew Fre­d­er­ick­’s enlight­en­ing book 101 Things I Learned in Archi­tec­ture School, Shane Mor­ris and Matt Morph­ett star­ted 101 Things I Learned in Inter­ac­tion Design School.

After a prom­ising start the site hal­ted pre­ma­turely with a measly nine­teen entries to it’s name. Those that do exist are not all fant­ast­ic, but there are some gems that are worth a browse, includ­ing:

I wait in hope of a reviv­al.

via @zambonini

Assorted Health and Fitness Tips from a Veteran Trainer

After years as a train­er, Mike O’Don­nell com­piles and shares an extens­ive list of health and fit­ness tips.

As Jason said, there’s “a lot of good (and ques­tion­able) stuff in this list”. Here are my favour­ites:

  • Diet is 85% of where res­ults come from… for muscle and fat loss. Many don’t focus here enough.
  • If you eat whole foods that have been around for 1000s of years, you prob­ably don’t have to worry about count­ing cal­or­ies.
  • The eat low-fat advice was the biggest health dis­aster in the last 30 years.
  • The smartest train­er I know does not have a web­site or best selling ebook… as he is too busy train­ing real cli­ents. (Related.)
  • If you want to get bet­ter at run­ning… you run… at bik­ing… you bike… at a sport… you play that sport.
  • There is no one right way for any­thing… as 20 dif­fer­ent ways can get you res­ults.
  • Res­ults are just the simple yet import­ant things done on a con­sist­ent basis.
  • All diets fail over the long run….but life­style changes last.
  • The best thing any­one can do for their health/results is to just try new thing­s… see how their body adapts and respond­s… and learn how to take total con­trol no mat­ter life may throw at them in the future.

via Kot­tke

MacLeod on Entrepreneurship

Hugh MacLeod shares a list of ran­dom thoughts on being an entre­pren­eur–a simple list of twenty-six inspir­a­tion­al tit­bits on busi­ness, pos­i­tion­ing and suc­cess.

My favour­ite five:

  • In a world of over-sup­ply and com­modi­fic­a­tion, you are no longer paid to sup­ply. You’re being paid to deliv­er some­thing else. What that is exactly, is not always obvi­ous.
  • People buy your product because it helps fill in the nar­rat­ive gaps in their lives.
  • You can either be cheapest or the best. I know which one I prefer.
  • People will always, always be in the mar­ket for a story that res­on­ates with them. Your product will either have this qual­ity or it won’t.
  • People remem­ber the qual­ity long after they’ve for­got­ten the price. Unless you try to rip them off.