How to Write Good by John Vorhaus

How to Write Good by John Vorhaus
This is the latest read for the Progressive Book Club.

This was a quick read with only 104 pages, but this book does leave a lasting impression. A quote that I particularly liked was this one;

“These days I can’t wait to write”

The book, perhaps aimed as being inspirational was just that for me. The book steers the reader on dealing with writers block, being focused and having a plan of action.

The author uses the word whimsy, which to me means free of restraints and without fear of reprisals or alike.

Writers should write everyday, but is this the case? Isn’t that bringing rules into writing? Writers should feel inspired enough to write and if they do not feel inspired today then don’t write, the risk is, that perhaps tomorrow you won’t feel inspired either and after a week of not writing….So is writing something that is not brilliant, in your opinion, better than not writing at all?

Having read this book I made some notes on thoughts that occurred to me.

  1. Always get dressed. As someone who in a previous working life did work from home it is a slippery slope writing in your PJs. I always got dressed into something comfy, but by getting dressed you are sending yourself (and others) a message that you are working.
  2. Forcing writing means that something you enjoyed doing becomes something that you do not enjoy. 
  3. On days when the writing does not flow are days when you can seek inspiration and explore. Often revisiting previous work or notes provides the inspiration for something else.
  4. Perfect never happens first time and I personally never get rid of a piece of work. I edit a copy, so I always have the original.
  5. Always carry a notebook & pen. Inspiration can happen at anytime and should be recorded, even if it is a series of bullet points.
So do I write everyday? Yes I do. I keep a daily journal filled with all sorts. I also try and blog everyday and  I often take part in memes, these are mainly genealogical and helps me get some focus. By reading other blogs I am occasionally inspired. I will give an example; 
I often take part in Sepia Saturday where we can share images and stories. One of the participants often makes the most wonderful collages. Which lead to someone else producing a collage. I remarked that perhaps each of the pictures should have some data attached to it. As a way of support the February Photo Collage Challenge was born and a group of us shared images and info.
For me this book is added to my writers toolbox because I liked the writing style and more importantly it made me think and reflect.

Taking part in the Progressive Book Club

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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3 Responses to How to Write Good by John Vorhaus

  1. Hi Julie, I focused on the same line from the book. It is my ultimate goal to write every day and I don't. I wake up every day with this intention, but much like working out, I fall short to many days. But, I keep trying.


  2. Good thoughts on this book. I get dressed, but only in comfy sweats–don't want to get too carried away 🙂

    I found his advice about what to do when the writing won't happen really good. I haven't had to try it yet, but I'll know what to do when the time comes.


  3. M.L. Swift says:

    Great post, Julie! And I'm glad the book inspired you so.

    I didn't get a sense of inspiration as much as I did a sense of freedom. Freedom to write with abandon. Freedom to express myself whimsically.

    We've read others say the same thing (Anne Lamott's shitty “downdraft,” Anne Rice's “If you want to be a writer, write.”) but something about the way John addressed it made it sink in a bit better.

    I liked your bullet points and will try some of them out (mainly, get dressed!).

    Thanks for participating this month! Reading your views will open my mind even further when I read it again.

    M.L. Swift, Writer


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