On Writing

My OCD kicked in the moment when, in an effort to awaken my muse, I searched Google for Webpages “on writing.”  Google offered more than 60 million pages matching my broad search. It was both daunting and encouraging.

I careened through them like a foraging squirrel scampering madly over a spilled truckload of just-right nuts.

It was too much of a good thing.

So I decided to search primarily for videos by authors I admire (or who many admire and I had not yet read).  The number of results for each author I searched was more manageable than my initial wide-open search, but it was still a nut-mine.

I have since found many other new favorite authors, most of them from YouTube.  And many of the YouTube video links led to free snippets of the acclaimed authors who teach online via MasterClass.

MasterClass is my primary “on writing” obsession. I found the first 20-lesson lecture series so well put together that I sprung the $180 it takes to get a year of full access to all MasterClass classes.

While I found the cornucopia of MasterClass offerings on topics like art, acting, comedy, cooking and more to be interesting, I leaped into the catalog of writing classes.  For the last several months, I’ve had mentoring from:

  • Aaron Sorkin
  • Dan Brown
  • David Mamet
  • James Patterson
  • Judy Blume
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Neil Gaiman
  • R.L. Stine

Until you are ready to enroll in the aptly-named MasterClass, there are many  free and free-wheeling interview videos available through YouTube.  Here’s a few of the first that helped revive my muse.

Steven King and George R.R. Martin

SKing & GRRMartin

Kurt Vonnegut

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I’m pumped and I’m intimidated. And now that this New Big Project has spread from my head to my heart, I must be committed (one way or another).

This NBP was triggered by something Steven King said in recent interview. It will be horror and, alas, non-fiction.


Success at levels intended will require reawakening the research, interviewing, and writing skills cultivated during my nearly 20 years in journalism.

It will require stretching the data skills built over nearly 20 years in a subsequent career in information technology.

I’ve no doubt it will demand other skills I can’t yet imagine.


Do you want to know what was it that King said to energize me so?

I’d like to tell you, but that would be inviting competition from anybody who sees this and has the requisite skills and motivation to attempt such a project themselves, or spur on the efforts of others who might already be working on a similar project.

Instead of me telling you that this one Steven King phrase is golden, I suggest you carve out some regular time to listen to the wisdom of great writers.  There a millions of Web pages “on writing” that distill what they hear or read and then cast it as the wisdom of the sages.  Many of them are superb and I do consult them from time-to-time.  But I love to listen to the sages directly and in this Google, You Tube, and other online resources do very well.

So if you are curious about what Steven King said that supercharged me, I wish you happy hunting.