Wednesday, November 28

Jim Butcher's Advice For New Writers: Write Every Day

Jim Butcher's Advice For New Writers: Write Every Day

In a recent interview with Sword & Laser, Jim Butcher described his Dresden Files series as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Philip Marlow".

How perfect is that?!

As my title promises, Jim Butcher also gave great advice to new writers, but I'll save that for the end. Everything needs a hook, right?

Jim Butcher & Live Action Role-Play (LARP)

Want to meet Jim Butcher? Grab your cape and blasting-rod--a sentence I thought I'd never write!--and head out to Independence Missouri.
When he's not writing Butcher is an avid Live Action Role-Player, or LARPer, playing under the name of Longshot.

He invites fans in the vicinity of Independence Missouri to come out and kill some theoretical monsters, be beaten into theoretical unconsciousness and even be 'theoretically killed'.

The Idea That Started The Codex Alera Series 

Apparently the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for," applies to bets as well.
In 2004 Butcher was challenged by a member of the Del Ray online writers workship to write a good story based on a lame idea.

Jim took the bet and the challenger gave him the lame idea of a lost Roman legion and Pokemon.

The story Butcher wrote became the first book in the Codex Alera series.
I'd be interested how Jim pitched that series to his editor!

Jim Butcher's Advice For New Writers

You've been more than patient, so without further delay here's Jim Butcher's advice for new writers:

Question: Can you give advice to any new writers in our audience?

Jim Butcher's response:
Write every day.

Even if you only write a little bit, even if you only write a sentence or a word, write. Because, even if you've just written a word, you're one word closer to the end of the book than you were at the beginning of the day, and that's progress.

Writing is about momentum, so get that momentum, set your time aside every day and stay honest.
Awesome advice!

Jim Butcher shares great information in the interview--memories, anecdotes--that I haven't mentioned. The Sword & Laser (episode 16) video is well worth watching.

Thanks to K.B. Burnfield for sending out a link to this interview.

Other articles you might like:

- Making Time To Write
- Simon & Schuster Partners With Author House To Create Archway Publishing
- Editing: Make Sure Your Story's Bones Are Strong

Photo credit: "Super Troopers!" by JD Hancock under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. Excellent advice! I love that he doesn't set a word count mandate, but emphasizes the progress itself over the _amount_ of progress. So encouraging for those off days. Great post, Karen, thank you! :)

    1. Thanks Megan!

      I agree. I think that momentum is the key. It doesn't matter _how many_ words we write a day, but that we do write every day.

      I actually think I buried the lead. The key comes right at the end. "Stay honest". Aye, there's the rub. ;) (I'm talking to myself there, not you!)

  2. I love Jim Butcher. He's one of my heroes. I also think he and I cut for the same cloth and would be great friends if we ever met. Writing every day is incredible advice, but I would make it a bit tougher: Write a set word count every day, preferably at the same time, preferably in the same spot, but the word count is the key. Start with something manageable: 200 words, say. My current "setting" is 1,000 words. Some days I do more. For me, this is a rule. I won't allow myself to go to bed until I have sat down and hit my word count. I don't care if it's Christmas. And he's right, it doesn't matter if what you write is any good at all. Just write. The rest will follow. Great post!

    1. Thanks mfawriterguy! I haven't read her blog lately, but I think Laurell K. Hamilton had that same goal: write a minimum of 1,000 words a day. Sounds like a great goal to me.

      Thanks for your comment. :-)


Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies. I do appreciate each and every comment.