How I write

( below, parts of my interview to Tim Ferris, published yesterday)

On Inspiration:
“I procrastinate, check some emails … then I start. I write my books very quickly because I cannot stop.”

On Confidence: “You cannot sell your next book by underrating your book that was just published. Be proud of what you have.”

On Simplicity: “What counts in a good story is the person inside. Keep it simple.”

strong>On Trust: “Trust your reader. Don’t try to describe things. Give a hint and they will fulfill this hint with their own imagination.”

On Writing:
“I write the book that wants to be written. Behind the first sentence is a thread that takes you to the last.”

On Expertise:
“You cannot take something out of nothing. When you write a book, you use your experience.”

On Critics: “Writers want to please their peers. They want to be recognized. Forget about this. Who cares? You should care to share your soul and not to please other writers who will write a review that nobody is going to read.”

On Overcoming Stagnation: “If I don’t feel inspired, I need to move forward. You need to have be disciplined.”

On Research: “If you overload your book with a lot of research, you are going to be very boring to yourself and to your reader. Books are not there to show how intelligent you are. Books are there to show your soul.”

On Notetaking: “I use notes to take them out of my head. I will never use them the next day – they will be useless.”

On Story Arcs: “There are only four types of stories: love story between 2 people, love story between 3 people, a struggle for power, and a journey.”

On Style: “Don’t try to innovate storytelling. Tell a good story and it is magical. I see people trying to work so much in style, finding different ways to tell the same thing. It is like fashion. Style is the dress, but the dress does not dictate what is inside the dress. What counts is the person.”

On Notetaking II : “If you want to capture ideas, you are lost. You are going to be detached from emotions and forget to live your life. You will be an observer and not a human being living his or her life. Forget notetaking. What is important remains, what is not important goes away.”

To listen to the full podcast, CLICK HERE

Comments

  1. Anna says:

    Die Übersetzung ist oft sehr schlecht. Ich habe nichts von Sterben geschrieben.
    Warum ist das So? Das finde ich schade!!!!!!

  2. Anna says:

    Mir geht es wie Heimo Kruschinski.
    Ich sammle, schreibe was mich beschäftigt. Das ist für mich eine Seelenarbeit.
    Viel später mache ich eineZZusammenfassung, und ich schaue was für ein Bild daraus entsteht. Für mich ist aber die Seelenarbeit am wichtigstens. Gute Gedanken bekomme ich aus und in der Natur.
    Vielen Dank
    Anna

    1. Heimo Kruschinski says:

      Danke Anna. Ich sehe das eigentlich genau so. Kunst, nicht nur das Schreiben, ist die natürliche Ausdrucksform unserer Seele. Seltsamerweise haben Geschichten, und ich sehe mich eher als Geschichtenerzähler, weniger als Autor, einen gewissen Aufbau. Das ist so, und da hat Paulo natürlich Recht. Ich schreibe meine Geschichten so, dass sie mir gefallen, dazu gehört auch ein gewisser Aufbau, eine Struktur, das Spiel mit dem Leser, also mit mir. Denn der erste Leser ist man immer selbst. Aber die Arbeit an meiner Seele, und dafür brauche ich meine Notizen, ich kann nicht alles in eine Geschichte packen, das ist das einzig entscheidende. Das spürt dann auch der Leser. Letztendlich muß eine Geschichte authentisch sein. Vielen Dank für deine aufmunternden Worte.

      Ich wünsche allen einen wundervollen Tag

  3. Ines says:

    This was FANTASTIC ! Thank you – !!! I was chuckling along, thinking, “my god, he’s SO right!” Please continue to inspire with your words…I feel like I am finally reaching the tip of my personal growth towards being a writer…

  4. Happy Woman says:

    life is all about when people say No, you say why not? and writing is all about they said No but I knew what should and would if….

  5. Soul Leal says:

    Thanks Paulo, after reading you this time I can dream I am a writer, I write not to please anyone but to free my soul. One day I will find out if my thoughts can be useful enough to share them with someone else.

  6. Dr Pooja Tripathi says:

    This is truly inspiring ! The tips,simplicity behind them,emotions underneath is all that which makes u a great writer
    Love you

  7. Free Versed Me says:

    Very useful tips.
    My friend here agrees. :P

  8. sarah says:

    So close to giving up on my dreams,
    because my heart is content;
    your posts stare into me, another sign, a white feather,
    my heart is lying,
    and thanks to you it is time to start trying.

  9. Andrea says:

    Thank you for sharing all the magic that you have inside you! I love each book you´ve written. I´ve read all of them and they definitely had thought me a lot of things =)

    I´m a big fan of yours!
    P.S. Every time I start reading one of your books, I can´t stop untill I finish it.

  10. Jamal says:

    Dear Paulo,
    You are igniting that spark of fire… I do want and like to write… I just have not found what my first book will be about!

    If you read this, I’d like to hear what you think,,,.. how did you get started?

    JN

  11. Deepa Susan Koshy says:

    Nice to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing..

  12. Champagnefingers says:

    Thanks!

  13. cha' says:

    amazing. thanks, but you know when I ready to writing and there are many planning that I want to share and write, but when I meet with pen, paper, or laptop i feel its so hard to begin. I don’t know why like this. it’s so difficult to begin.. hope u can give me some suggestions. :))

  14. Ana Paula says:

    Muito bom. Não é atoa que é um grande autor! Excelente!

  15. Andre says:

    Hey Paulo,

    you are so right on the writing part – it just flows with you – and best thing is to not interrupt the flow. And just keep writing and writing and writing … ;-)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Take care!

    André

  16. Natalia says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, i love your books, althought i don´t have time enough to read i always make a moment… i love Brida!… that was the first one i have readed.. and now i have like ten… Thanks for being the way you are!
    Love.. Natalia, from Argentina..

  17. Iris Chung says:

    thank you for sharing those tips.
    you might have just inspired someone today.
    me, definitely!

  18. Heart says:

    “Never write anything down” a friend just advised as a response to another friend sending text messages continuously to the man she is in love with. “Never write anything down” she repeated when the friend kept saying she has to write about him. She is married, and if her husband finds out, he’ll get very upset.

    Myself I do write everything down at times to get insight into what I feel and think, but I often tear up what I have written, that cannot go to public. There is a lot that can Never be written down..

  19. IB says:

    “You should care to share your soul.”

    Paul,

    This is the best advice you could give any writer. I was taught this, though the language used was slightly different. I was told to be as honest as I could with my writing. Of course, this is easier said than done. For me, it got to the point where I had no choice but to be honest and that was the breakthrough.

    Regardless of tone or genre, honest writing shines brightly and speaks to people. But getting to that honest place is hard because it’s hard for us to be honest with ourselves.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing.

  20. Ansuman Jena says:

    Certainly Enlightening and Inspiring.

  21. Psalmbody says:

    “…procrastinate…then start…” You told (on) me!
    I appreciate you.

    Won Love, t*

  22. katie says:

    “If you want to capture ideas, you are lost. You are going to be detached from emotions and forget to live your life. You will be an observer and not a human being living his or her life. Forget notetaking. What is important remains, what is not important goes away.”

    it amazes me again & again how you touch things here, that goes around in my mind but cannot clearly formulated yet :o). I just have this issue that I also think that my heart is not sufficiently in my writing …

  23. Marie-Christine says:

    En francais
    Comment J’ecris – Blog de Paulo Coelho

    Ci-dessus un extrait de mon interview que j’ai donne a Tim Ferris et qui a ete publie hier.

    SUR :
    L’inspiration – J’ai tendance a vouloir remettre les choses au lendemain, je regarde quelques e-mails..puis je commence. J’ecris mes livres tres vite parce que je ne peux pas m’arreter.

    La confidence – Vous ne pouvez pas vendre votre prochain livre en sous-estimant le livre qui vient juste d’etre publie, Soyez fier de ce que vous possedez.

    Simplicite – Ce qui compte dans une bonne histoire c’est la personne a l’interieur. Passez-moi les details.

    La confiance – Faites confiance a vos lecteurs. N’essayez pas de decrire les choses. Donnez un indice et ils repondront a cette allusion avec leur propre imagination.

    L’ecriture – J’ecris le livre qui veut etre ecrit. Derriere la premiere phrase se trouve un fil qui vous amene jusqu’a la derniere.

    L’expertise – Vous ne pouvez interpreter les idees sans aucune base,, Lorsque vous ecrivez un livre, vous utilisez votre experience.

    Les critiques – Les ecrivains veulent faire plaisir a leurs collegues. Ils veulent etre reconnus. Oubliez cela. Qu’est-ce que cela peut bien faire? Occupez- vous de partager votre ame et non pas de plaire aux autres ecrivains qui vont ecrire une critique que personne ne va lire.

    Maitriser la stagnation – Si je ne suis pas inspire, j’ai besoin d’avancer. Vous avez besoin de discipline.

    La recherche – Si vous surchargez votre livre avec trop de recherches, vous allez vous ennuyer ainsi que vos lecteurs. Les livres ne sont pas la pour montrer combien vous etes intelligent. Les livres sont la pour exposer votre ame.

    Prise de notes – Je prends des notes pour les oter de ma tete. Je ne les utilise jamais le lendemain – elles seraient inutiles –

    L’histoire des Archetypes – Il n’y a seulement que 4 types d’histoires : une histoire d’amour entre 2 personnes, une histoire d’amour entre trois personnes, une lutte pour le pouvoir et un voyage.

    Le style – N’essayez pas d’innover l’art de conter. Racontez une bonne histoire et c’est magique. Je vois des gens qui essayent de travailler beaucoup sur le style, trouvant des manieres differentes pour dire la meme chose. C’est comme la mode – le style est la robe, mais la robe ne dicte pas
    ce qui est a l;interieur de la robe, Ce qui compte, c’est la personne.

    La prise de notes II – Si vous voulez captiver une idee,. Vous etes perdu, Vous allez vous detacher des emotions et oublier de vivre votre vie. Vous serez un observateur et non pas un etre humain vivant sa vie, Ne prenez pas de notes, Ce qui est important reste, ce qui ne l’est pas s’en va.

    Pour ecouter le podcast en entier, cliquez ICI.

  24. Tiger says:

    It’s about time I share my soul to the world. Thanks for the inspiration, Paulo Coelho!

  25. annenime says:

    this is lovely.. and i really helpful. reminds mw to just go back to the basics… feedback will follow after you, the writer, have satisfied yourself with what you’ve written.

  26. Maritza says:

    Estoy escribiendo una novela corta para un concurso, estoy escribiendo una columna para una revista local, y trato de escribir un cuento corto semanal para mi blog. Pero tengo que trabajar para mantenerme…como encuentro el momento para escribir…quisiera dedicarme solo a escribir pero tengo que comer. Qué consejo me daría? Gracias…

    1. Pablo says:

      Estimada Maritza..debes seguir trabajando para seguir viviendo…y usar el tiempo en la noche para inspirarte !! Eso mismo hago yo !!

      EXITOS Y ADELANTE EN TUS ESCRITOS.

  27. Patricia says:

    I have never taken notes except to clear my head, as you have done. I’ve always felt guilty about this, as though I haven’t been doing things the right way. Thank you for validating my experience, my way of writing. There is much more wisdom in your advice, but this one piece is particularly freeing to me.

  28. Katrina Kavvalos says:

    This is fantastic~ I could relate to everything you wrote~loved it ~ thank you :-))

  29. Arghir says:

    I’m glad that i finnaly found you somewhere on my -lifejourney- mister Paulo, what i try to say it’s that your ‘Alchimista’ has expand my mind, my spirit and my dreams and thru this you gave to me a different and beautiful way to see life and the amazing things inside her. So, Thank You !

  30. Sasha says:

    Reena,

    Write a little bit every day. Don’t think too much about the topic, or why you’re writing, or who is going to read it. Just write. Lose yourself in your thoughts on paper and it will feel as if they are not your own. It will elevate you and slowly…it will free your soul. A little writing every day makes it a habit, your soul’s daily routine, a practice. And, eventually, it all falls into place and makes sense.

    I also highly advise travel for soul nutrition. No resorts, no preplanned activities, just a ticket to Costa Rica for a week and lonelyplanet.com as a reference.

    S

  31. Simkus says:

    Well put good sir. I think I needed to hear your notes on simplicity today. Thank you for sharing this!

  32. Pijnacker01 says:

    Excellent guidelines and tips! Thank you. Very interesting was your take (or double-take) on note-taking. Makes sense, in hindsight!

  33. Iram says:

    Your words inspire me alot , not only me but the whole world .. simply love it .. it helps in giving directions to the life.. awesome .. regards

  34. Jimmy says:

    I think Pablo should stick to writing…! his gift is in his pen not his tongue..just an observation…he is still my favorite writer anyways…!

  35. claudia says:

    Hy,I only whant to tell you I dream in this day when I will be like you.I really LOVE your books .

  36. peryag kania says:

    merci

  37. Rodica Groze says:

    hi, i’d like to write ,but i don’t know how.i don’t have constance, and my ideas it change from one day to other.
    i don’t know either in ech linguage to write. i know rumanian, italian and a bit english, i think, in italian and english offen. but i think none of the linguages i know perfectly :) if you can help me with some advice

  38. Bojana says:

    predivno………

  39. THANK YOU, Thank you, thank you. Finally someone gets the concept of just writing. I have people who want to teach me to write more slowly, to add more detail, to use better descriptors, and it’s KILLING my energy. Your perspective is exactly what I needed today.

    Your perspective just ripped the bars off of my creative jail cell. :)

  40. Bojana says:

    Predivno, biti na taj nacin obdaren je predivno i neponovljivo……….

  41. Thank You for your Wisdom Paulo! Still my favorite author!

  42. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    Thank you. It’s very interesting to look insight into your writing style. I’m personally make a lot of notes. I use them never for stories, or very rarely. I use it as a diary. They belong to the story, but only for me. I read them at some point, usually many years later. I can see, like the story has developed, like me has developed. That is fun for me. So everyone has his hobbies. I also make often writing breaks. A bad habit, I take my time. But I’m not a writer. I just write. Everything else I do not care.

    I wish you all a wonderful evening

  43. Olga says:

    Siempre me pregunto: “¿cómo hacen para hablar y hablar y hablar y hablar y seguir hablando?” Me da una curiosidad científica, quisiera saber de neurología o lo que sea que me haga comprender este misterio que soy yo. Realmente.

  44. Thank you for sharing these wonderful, inspiring thoughts!!!

    I love how in everything you say, you reinforce how we all are valuable, live our life as a human being…We can definitely learn so much from all you said here in everyday life. We get so focused on coming up with ideas (not just for writing), or ways to be successful that we stop living.

    I experienced and rediscovered myself a few years back when overcoming a family crisis, my brothers, sister and I relived our childhood memories…remember the times when I most happy, the things I had a passion for, I reflected and asked myself, “why am I not doing them now?” The things we had a passion for when we were kids will always remain in our hearts! When we try so hard to do all the things you have described here, we lose ourselves. It is true, we do remember the things that are important, the things that transported us to magical place. When I took the time to go back to the time when I was free to do everything with a passion because I did not worry about what others thought, I decided to wake what I had kept dormant in my heart as a child!

    Thanks Paulo:)

  45. Erika says:

    Thank you for sharing…my favorite is how you said “give a hint and they will fullfill this hint with their own imagination..(the reader)”

    1. ZOBIRI says:

      Bonsoir Paulo;

      Beaucoup de respect à ta personne,dans tous les bouquins, j’ai appris les différentes moralitésà pouvoir impliquer dans le chemin de ma vie, Grace à vous, je suis une autre personne qui va de l’avant en faisant ce qui me plait, en osant rêver et réaliser mes rêves, un bonheur énnui dans ma phase de célibataire où l’Amour de partenaire n’existe pas, mais mon Amour pour les autres me redonne la force, le courage, la volonté de jouir pleinement de chaque seconde de ma vie, voyagiste Eternelle, je découvre des merveilles tout au long de peuple différents en culture….la vie devient plus simple à sa gaieté dont seul l’humain est maitre de son changement, mille merci pour votre vision universelle sur la vie et excéllente continuation Mr Paulo.

      Nadia Algérie

    2. I believe Stephen King also recommends a similar thing in his book “On Writing”. He says not to describe things too much – give just enough to let the reader paint images in their own mind. Very cool!!

  46. reena says:

    dear coelho,
    i have read every single book of yours and im inspired with your words. however im confused,i don know what my destiny is. im passionate abt teaching and writing. im not doing both at this juncture. my life involves and revolves around my two kids and husband. but my own soul starves. i need someone to tell me what i have to do. if u have anything which can help me pls do.

    love and thanks,
    reena

    1. linda says:

      Dear Reena,

      I believe you just told your self what to do, it’s all in your text above.

      You just have to believe that you deserve it and then of course do it. That is the only difference between those who succeed and those who don’t.

      When you have one minute to spare, then write. How long did it take you to write the message above? You took time to read Mr Coelhos words now you give your own words the same attention, before you know it you have written a book.

      Love from Linda

    2. arun says:

      Reading is good, it takes you to next level of comfortable state of mind. getting inspired is blessing and god’s will. He wants you to progress and create your own world of emotions where you will live freely. Destiny is a dream and dreams are your asset. The best part is you are aware what you want , the awakening is a platform and foundation of your emotions. At this moment you are thinking, live with your emotions, love yourself and feel you are not alone…..

  47. Annie says:

    “I write my books very quickly because I cannot stop.”
    Don’t stop!!
    STOP sign.. NOT!!! (unless you are on the road driving ;) )

    Love and gratitude (don’t stop being awesome)
    Annie

  48. Cyberquill says:

    I procrastinate, read other people’s blog posts, and then I postpone my projects until tomorrow.

  49. arun says:

    GOD IS A WRITER
    A writer is a free soul who has no shame in going naked in public. It is a dance with lover on the crossing of roads and all naked as well. The emotion which a writer carries does not give time to him to think again. A writer writes first and then thinks later. The time to know his thought is hardly a tab over the key-pad. I know whenever I pick-up pen or start typing, I don’t have anything in mind but once the magic starts than I don’t think, the flow of thoughts lead me freely to the new beginning of unending age of writing. The writer never knows where he should stop thinking as till the peace of mind achieves, he is in full throttle of thoughts. It is connected with one’s will, desire and lust. A writer is a child stays in his own world of passion, emotions, and principles. It excites one with the tag of no boundary. He comes out of his own body and seeing all incidents as second person. He just wears his own soul and removes everything and accomplishes the assigned task by his soul. He creates his own world where he keeps his men in chaos, confusion and madness. He loves them to do some foolish acts and take wise decision. He knows where they would crumble by their own emotions and when they would feel the victory. Each emotion describes the mental state of a writer. He put himself to pedestal through his created characters. He makes love and gets blind by the anger. He shows his nepotism, and criticism. He puts them on acid test and then takes back them from death defying situation. He Insults and gets humiliation by his own modes of tools. The madness of his characters describes his nature.
    A writer estimates and fixes his limitation over the mind of readers through his way of expressing the emotions. He takes them to contradiction where their mind does it in free flow situation. He concludes the hope in despair and happiness in sorrow. He knows that the right time to press the button of remote control to their minds. He does it beautifully. He keeps his readers in his own world with their free will. Till the last word they become part of writer’s world and then allow them to merge in their own world where they now become character of a big canvas writer-GOD.
    FROM: “arunaksarun.blogspot.com”

    1. Psalmbody says:

      Beauty atop beauty. Thank you, Arun.

  50. Shine says:

    Wow! Interesting………………love Avantika