How to Be a Better Writer

by Frank Roche on March 20, 2012

in Communication

No compulsion in the world is stronger than the urge to edit someone else’s document.” – H.G. Wells

I’ve had a few writing heros in my life.

Hemingway. Kerouac. Bukowski.

Papa didn’t preach.

He was the best in “show, don’t tell.”

Jack wrote on butcher block paper.


Had a clause in his contract after On The Road

“The publisher may not change a word of the manuscript nor alter the punctuation.”

And Hank.

Oh, Hank,

who when asked by lesser writers for writing advice

gave them his stock answer: “Don’t try.”

The golden thread

running through this set of ruffians

and incorrigibles

was that they lived what they wrote about.

Didn’t pretend.

Didn’t try out “fake it ’til you make it.”

Lived it.

When you do that,

and only then

is when every single comma stays.

As Kerouac said, “It’s about the breath, man. How can you put a comma where I didn’t pause?”

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