5 Thoughts: Why (and How) We Write


HANGING BY OUR COMPUTER IS a sheet of paper I look to for inspiration. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it depresses me, but always it gets me back on the horse. It’s called “Why (and How) We Write.” If you too find it useful, please hang it by your computer.

1. Do it for the buzz.
– Stephen King

2. Finish what you start. Keep submitting until it sells.
— Robert Heinlein

3. a) Fanaticize yourself
b) Fanaticize something greater than yourself
c) “Sheer delight in what you are doing.”
– Robert Anton Wilson

4. a) Arrange events in linear order
b) Now arrange them in narrative order.
c) Write the story.
d) Revise the story.
– H. P. Lovecraft

5. “Most of the characteristics which make for success in writing are precisely those which we are all taught to repress … the firm belief that you are an important person, that you are a lot smarter than most people, and that your ideas are so damned important that everybody should listen to you.”
– Robert Anton Wilson, reprise

Jon Stewart Slams Glenn Beck Idol

THE DEMISE OF THE HEADLINE-WRITER’S art (according to a recent article fed through both Slashdot and The Daily Beast) dictates an appeal to search engine optimization (SEO) instead of readers — something that snags on Google instead of anticipatory imagination. Thus, the perfect SEO headline for anything would be the above, as it’s (quoting from memory since I can’t find the original article, alas) “guaranteed to bring in thousands of page hits.” (I added “Idol” just to tweak the numbers, in my own special pundit Beltway Comedy Central Lady Gaga Obama porn Mafia Wars Stephen Colbert Go USA way.)

So there we go. I’ll post an update in 24 hours (hmm… better make it 36) and see how many Fabulous Prizes and Destination Sunsets we’ve won. (So to speak. Heh heh heh.)

UPDATE: JSSGBI+10 minutes: THIS is CREEPY. As in OMG!!! creepy. I no sooner post this when, touched by curiosity, I Google “Jon Stewart Slams Glenn Beck.” And:

The mind-blowing evidence of Google's unholy grasp on the world's electronic tentacles.

Fig. 1.

NUMBER FIVE??? IN N*I*N*E M*I*N*U*T*E*S?!?!?!?!? That’s actually pretty cool…

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(See Also: Robert Anton Wilson / HP Lovecraft / Writing / 5 Thoughts / Text As Life)

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