Mark’s Writing Tips

Aspiring writers looking for tips online often come across contradictory and confusing advice. I hope to cut through this morass of information by offering simple, common sense ideas that no one will ever contradict, declare useless or consider pretentious. I hope these help, and remember—always keep writing!

Write precisely 1,287 words every day between 7:23 am and 9:41 am.

Never use adverbs. Use adjectives sparingly. Nouns should only appear once every 4.8 sentences. Semi-colons are mythical.

A character should only say, ask or expunge dialogue.

No character should be named Steven. If you’re writing a work of non-fiction about a real person named Steven, change their name to Bartholomew.

Keep your computer on but your monitor off.

It’s key to have a keyboard. It’s only nice to have mice.

Eat spiders to gain their cunning.

Don’t do anything Jonathan Franzen says, even if he’s telling you to take cover. That little fuck isn’t the boss of you.

If you’re having trouble finding motivation, get cancer.

Always listen to whale sounds, unless you’re writing about whales. Then listen to jazz.

Maybe write a mystery? Those seem to be selling alright lately.

Remember to tell yourself that writing is a window into your soul as you spend 15 minutes deciding whether or not to italicise a word that will inevitably be cut later.

Never eat tapioca.

5 thoughts on “Mark’s Writing Tips

  1. tyrovogel

    Hi there Mark. I’d just read your “6 Horseshit Things The Site That Tried To Bribe Me Does” article on Cracked. I enjoyed it, thanks.

    I haven’t actually read the writing advice and just skipped to the comment section because:

    1) I’ve 7 more video lessons to draft on how to write romance (haa!)
    2) I’ve at least 3,000 words to write for a book I’m ghostwriting … and with which I’d been late for a MONTH. The fuck, man.
    3) I’ve 5 articles to finish by the end of the week at $15 each.
    4) I’m to do a little more whining, smoke a cigarette, and then READ YOUR ACTUAL POST.

    * * *

    … some time later.

    * * *

    5) The fuck’s a tapioca. Sounds like a name of some rare venereal disease you can only get by if you lie with a cannibal midget.
    6) Here’s something that actually helped me: Chris Fox’s Excel spreadsheet that he made when writing a book, “5,000 words per hour.” Useful to keep track of progress; motivational; probably not as good as the free iPhone app.

    Check it out:

    7) Semi-colons rule.