Bestselling author Clive Cussler (born in 1931) has written 25 Dirk Pitt novels, along with dozens of other books. Here are three quotes he’s given us throughout the years that will make you a better writer!
1. It’s a job. I entertain my readers. I get up in the morning, and I start typing.
One thing I’ve always told other writers, particularly those looking to write novels, is to never be too precious with your writing. To not sit there and struggle over every sentence, every word. Particularly when it comes to a first draft. You can sit down at the desk, open up your laptop, and just start typing if you want. Just tell yourself the story. Don’t fixate on making everything perfect. Writing is a process, and you’ll make your book its best eventually.
There’s nothing wrong with treating writing like a job, even if you’re writing novel after novel without any clear idea if you’ll ever make any money. The great thing about treating writing like a job is that you’ll force yourself to do a little writing every day. Not just the weekdays. The weekends, too!
2. If you are a writer, Saturday and Sunday don’t mean anything.
If you’re a truly dedicated writer, you shouldn’t think about writing as something you do only during the weekdays. Writing should be something you take on seven days a week, even if it’s just for an hour or two. I’m currently drafting my twentieth novel. I’ve been writing 2,000 to 2,400 words every day since Monday, June 3. Not just Monday through Friday but Monday through Sunday! Thus in just 18 days, I’ve already reached 40,000 words! And in 18 days from now, I will have reached The End, something around 80,000 words.
While I’ve been drafting this novel, weekends truly have meant nothing to me. In fact, sometimes I forget what day of the week it even is! Saturday feels the same to me right now as Monday and Wednesday. Sunday feels just like Thursday. The days are all blending together right now, and you know what? I’m not at all sad about it. I love to write, no matter how hard it can get and how much I may struggle. I intend to enjoy my weekends to the fullest later in the summer, but right now Saturday and Sunday are just two days of the week, nothing more!
3. If it ain’t fun, it ain’t worth doing.
Many people have asked me throughout the years how I’ve written so many unpublished novels and manage to stay so positive and motivated. I do think a lot of people in my position would have given up by now. I’ve written almost every day for nearly ten years, and there’s still no traditionally published novel. It’s not for a lack of trying of course, as right now I draft my twentieth book.
There’s something I’ve been telling myself a lot these past two or three years. As soon as writing stops being fun, it’s time to give up. As soon as writing feels like work, it might be time to try something else. But I still after all this time have just so much damn fun. I love creating new stories, new characters. I love going someplace new, learning and discovering, and being playful with words. Right now I’m still having a blast with writing, but if it ever stops being fun, Clive Cussler is absolutely right: it’s no longer worth doing!