Like many wanna-be writers, I have read my share of books on writing. The best writing book I have read is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Not because the book contains the secret to becoming the next best seller. No. Stephen King talks about his struggles not only in becoming a writer, but also in being a best selling novelist. Interwoven in the story of how he became a writer is how he became a writer. Even he admits that there was a certain amount of luck involved. At the end of the novel though he gives the reader a path forward, if they too want to become a writer. The path is not a guarantee. Of course not. But he ends the novel leaving you with hope.
That said, I don’t remember a specific piece of advice out of his book though I can safely say that every book on writing can be boiled down to one piece of advice: write! That’s it. Save yourself money and shelf space. Just write. Now please send along $14.95.
Another piece of advice, not nearly as important as the $14.95 version is this: watch what you write when you are in certain moods. You know what I’m talking about. Have you ever tried to write when you are angry? What comes out? Does your main character step on a few too many bugs? Punch someone? Kill someone? And then you re-read what you wrote and you say, wait a second, my school marm just killed her cat and punched the mailman in the face.
In the same vein where I marvel at how the mind solves the puzzle that is writing a novel, I also find interesting how my mood affects my writing, and to that end I try to be in an even-keeled state of being whenever I write. Sometimes that’s not possible, but I do what I can.