Time will tell if Apple is right or wrong, but the following text from Apple’s WWDC presentation today could arguably be a candidate for some of the most beautiful, honest and poetic prose that has ever been or ever will come from a corporate … Kudos Apple!
“If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus. The first thing we ask: What do we want people to feel? Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection. Then we craft around our intention. It takes time. There are a thousand no’s for every yes. We simplify. We perfect. We start over, until everything we touch enhances every life it touches. Only then do we sign our work. – Designed by Apple in California.”
1. Don’t go out to lunch.
2. Don’t go online until lunch.
3. Don’t start writing your novel until you know your characters very, very well. What they’d do if they saw somebody shoplifting. What they were like at school. What shoes they wear. Spend days – weeks, months – being them until they thicken up and start to breathe. VS Pritchett said, “There’s no such thing as plot, only characters.” Once you know them well they’ll lead you into their stories. If you start too soon you won’t have a clue what they’re going to do and all is chaos.
4. However hopeless and inadequate you feel, leave that self behind. Psych yourself up until you’re confident that the world will be interested in what happens to your characters. Confidence is key.
5. Don’t “write”. “Writing” is about showing off, or imitating other writers. “Writing” mistakes solemnity for seriousness. Just write. Have courage, be truthful, be true to your characters.6. Don’t be daunted. Writing a novel is a huge adventure; when it’s going well it’s more fun than fun. When it stutters to a halt put it aside. Go for a swim, go for a walk, take a week off. Don’t panic or be afraid; you and your characters are in it together. Trust them to come to your rescue. Of course it’s a long haul, but you always knew that, didn’t you?
7. If a character stubbornly refuses to come alive, switch to the first person. Suddenly they’ll be speaking to you. Later you can change it back again if you need to.
8. I have to know the ending before I can begin. Map out as much as you need but don’t over-plot or you can constrict your characters. Let them change it as they go along.
9. You don’t have to know the ending.
10. In other words, you don’t have to listen to anyone’s advice. There are no rules to break. That’s the pleasure of it. Read The Paris Review interviews with writers – everyone has their own methods and if a novel is truly alive it will break all their rules too.
11. Discover the times when you’re most creative – mornings, nights, afternoons – and clear the time to work then. Many writers find the mornings are best, and the afternoons are only good for editorial corrections, or getting the washing done. Others can only work through the night, drunk.
12. Sort out your priorities. Don’t clean your home, other than as a displacement activity. There won’t be time. You’ll probably neglect your friends too, and even your personal hygiene. If you have children, however, try to keep them fed.
|—||Deborah Moggach’s rules for writing. Complement with rule sets from Henry Miller, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Helen Dunmore, Zadie Smith, Kurt Vonnegut, David Ogilvy, and John Steinbeck, and wash down with the essential collected wisdom of famous writers. (via explore-blog)|
A glowing example of measured, succinct and to the point prose, yet deeply descriptive and nuanced - much like most of his work.
“Having no facility for speech-making and no command of oratory nor any domination of rhetoric, I wish to thank the administrators of the generosity of Alfred Nobel for this Prize.
No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.
It would be impossible for me to ask the Ambassador of my country to read a speech in which a writer said all of the things which are in his heart. Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten.
Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.
For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.
How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.”
What are the first few words this picture brings to mind?
For me : Power, design, simplicity, focus, confidence, indifference, WTF is he talking about? They use DELL!,
Ready, Set, Pause
How’s your Tuesday? If it’s like ours, you’re busy- rushing to a meeting, wondering where to start on the big project that you probably should have started yesterday- stressed.
First, breath. Then check out this technique that just might help you make it through to hump day.
[Image:Flickr user phill.d]