Reasonably Not Bad Sentences

by RS on January 21, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about of where I write. I’ve been asked to keep it in one area of the house, because I tend to spread out like crawling ivy. I work in my study cum workout space cum bedroom. It’s not bad; it’s a sunny spot, and everything I need is all within reach. If I want a break, I walk over to the kitchen and get whatever I want.

Sometimes, though, I like a change of scenery. When I lived in the city, I could pack up the laptop or moleskin and just walk over to one of my favorite cafes and write. Not so on this tiny island. The one place that would qualify as a cafe isn’t very inspiring, and our little library is too, well, noisy.

But wherever I choose to write, at home or elsewhere, the point is to get the words down on paper or screen. And this brings me to a post that marketing guru and blogger Chris Brogan wrote for today, The Myth of the Work Environment. For the most part, I agree with him, but Brogan also comments about getting published and writes the following:

The best sentences don’t sell books (or magazines or whatever). A string of reasonably not bad sentences with useful and engaging information sells books. My books are NOT the best-written books out there on their topic. They’re well-marketed books that I put some soul and heart into. Is every sentence just so? Not even a little bit. But am I a New York Times bestselling author? Oh yes I am. Because I published.

That’s the only difference between where a lot of writers are and where I am: I published.

How? I write. I write all the time. I’m writing this at Walt Disney World, when I should be riding on the Tower of Terror or something. Yes, I do take time to stop and smell the roses, but I don’t neglect my duties. It’s part of what I do. Write. Get writing. Stop making excuses, and don’t look back.

Your successful writing future awaits. Just get publishing.

I take umbrage with this section. Getting published via the traditional manner is not as easy as Brogan makes it out to be, especially in fiction. There’s no question that if we’re serious writers we should write everyday and stop making excuses. The more time we spend writing, honing our craft, and creating a compelling story, the closer we might be to getting

I’ll spare you the soapbox rant about composing exquisite sentences that zing and sizzle versus churning out mediocre, hum-drum ones. But I think Brogan missed the mark here because it comes across that he’s not taking into account on the different types of writers, their styles, and the time it takes to write a book. Perfect sentences might not guarantee a best-seller, but I rather write nuanced and evocative sentences that will resonate with a minuscule group of discerning readers rather than settle for “reasonably not bad sentences” and hope for a best-seller.

1 comments
Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan

You're not wrong. I wrote the post mostly for nonfiction writers. Fiction is it's own beast. And yet, you and I both know hundreds of people who say they're writers when they're really angry bird players who wish a novel would show up.

Yes, great sentences are lovely. A published book is much nicer than a collection of the most exquisite sentences in the world.

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