Posts Tagged ‘writing’


July 11, 2012


Maybe my dates with Wattpad are a bit undignified. But at my age you can afford to be undignified. You’re free to explore, and to guinea-pig yourself, and to stretch the boundaries. — Margaret Atwood

Everyone has a story to tell.

You do not learn to write by going on a creative writing course. I can always tell, that plodding, wooden style, the clichés.

You learn to write through practice. That is how we hone our skills, be it writing or tennis.

Wattpad provides a platform for writers and poets. It also provides feedback from fellow writers and poets.

You write and post a book a chapter at a time.

Is that not a bit naff?

No, it is the way Charles Dickens wrote his books, each chapter eagerly awaited. In the US they were waiting at the dockside for the next instalment to arrive.

The internet leads to creativity. Look at the number of blogs. If you want to write a book, turn it into an e-book and put it on frostwire, turn it into an audio book and put it on bandcamp.

Margaret Atwood is a strong supporter of both the internet and Wattpad.

I got into trouble a while ago for saying that I thought the internet led to increased literacy – people scolded me about the shocking grammar to be found online – but I was talking about fundamentals: quite simply, you can’t use the net unless you can read. Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well.

Allen Lau, co-founder of Wattpad, tells the story of getting a letter from an old man in a village in Africa. The village had no school, no library, no landline, and no books. But it had a mobile phone, and on that they could read and share the Wattpad stories. He was writing to say thank you.

Nine-year-old Martha Payne wanted to write. She wrote a highly successful food blog, NeverSeconds. Her local council tried to shut her down, public outcry forced them to back down.

Wattpad is not only new writers, classics and modern classics are also there, for example Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

I dabbled in wattpad and I have to say what I found was badly written rubbish. That is not to say there are not gems hidden in the dross. I dabble in bandcamp, I find loads of rubbish, but I also find music well worth listening to.

Writers on wattpad even post videos on youtube promoting their work. For example What He Really Did, which is claimed to be a true story.

There are complete novels, chapter by chapter. There are short stories, for example Santiago’s Dream: The prelude in the little church on the mountain by Henry Freeman, a thinly disguised speculation on Paulo Coelho, the P in the story, and the writing of The Alchemist.

The disadvantage of wattpad is you are forced to read on-line. But then there is nothing to stop the writer turning into an e-book and posting to frostwire, or an audio book and posting on bandcamp, or even turning it into a hard copy, a real book.

I do not like the use of facebook to sign in. Never use facebook to sign in anywhere. Not unless you want a sharing of your personal data. Always explicitly sign in.

I find reading within a restricted area of the screen is not very enjoyable. Even worse than reading an e-book. At the end of the day, nothing beats reading a real book.

Piracy on the site is widespread. Most if not all Paulo Coelho books are available.

Writers write for the love of writing, musicians play for the love of music.

Writers write to be read, musicians play to be heard.

If you are doing it for money, you are in the wrong game.

If you can earn some money, that is great as you are getting money for doing what you love doing.

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012

July 10, 2012

I learnt to write by writing. – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman, in an address to the University of the Arts, talking about writing, following your dreams.

Brilliant and inspiring talk by Neil Gaiman on writing and following your dreams.

Write for the love of writing, not for the love of money.

If you write for the love of writing, you will be proud of what you produce. If you write for the love of money you will be bitterly disappointed, and probably will not get paid either.

Break the rules, make good art.

The old system is breaking down, the gatekeepers are no longer guarding the gate. Use the internet to communicate with the world.

The University of the Arts is the first and only university in the US dedicated to the visual, performing and communication arts. Its 2,400 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. The institution’s roots as a leader in educating creative individuals date back to 1868.

“Twitter is art”

July 7, 2012
Paulo Coelho Zeit Online

Paulo Coelho Zeit Online

Pirated copies of his books, he welcomes the intellectual shock old died for him, the Internet, it is a global village. Brazil’s best-selling author Paulo Coelho celebrates the Skype call, the digital revolution – with all its consequences for the book market.

Zeit Online: Mr. Coelho, what you mean bookstores?

Paulo Coelho: Book stores are temples for me. You are viewing books , you can browse, you can talk to the booksellers. This is great.

Zeit Online: Mr. Coelho, what you mean bookstores?

Paulo Coelho: Book stores are temples for me. You are viewing books , you can browse, you can talk to the booksellers. This is great.

Zeit Online: Are you not afraid that this temple must close when selling authors like to e-books to sell junk for 99 cents?

Coelho: Let me put it this way: When Gutenberg invented the printing press, the monks shouted: “O God, we prefer to pull back from this world, it has become too fast. Previously, we have made drawings, our books were works of art, and now we have these cheap Gutenberg printing “But each technological revolution creates a platform for a cultural revolution. And I really do not think that this temple, the bookstores will disappear. The film has not even the theater killed.

Zeit Online: How does the revolution of which you speak, from the publishers?

Coelho: I have over eight million fans on Facebook, my blog read two million people a month. I get to speak directly to my readers. The publishers have no idea how important something is. Nevertheless, the power of traditional marketing is publishers and bookstores continue to be indispensable. We can not lift authors alone.

Zeit Online: Many writers grumble about the social networks : They would eat only the amount of time it took for writing books. And the readers deserve to read the snout and hold dear.

Coelho: I find that strange. I always have time for that: I have time to write my books, I have to work period, I have time to do a bit of sport. So I think: One of the most important parts in the life of an author is to directly interact with its readers in touch. This refers to herself better. It helps me as a person, not only as a writer. Yesterday I spoke with a friend from Montenegro, who told me of Montenegrin legend, I’ve chatted with a Chinese man. They are my friends, even though I never met physically. I talk with them, I’m learning very much and have very much fun. It’s like you go to a bar. Writers should definitely go to bars!

Zeit Online: Why not go for many writers in the digital bar?

Coelho: You are afraid of the direct contact that is very human. What you do not know, until you come and see.

Zeit Online: Do we need to actually before Amazon fear? And the network logic The winner takes it all?

Coelho: This is not the logic of the network. This is the logic of our world. Now just the European football championship. Does it matter who is in second or third? No, it’s all about who wins. And I am sure that Germany wins. But honestly, now it looks as if Amazon would take over everything. Only: Morning invents a rival anything else, and the situation changes completely. We can not stop it’s progress. We can adapt, but the change must go on. Let us use it all the possibilities of new technologies.

Zeit Online: How do you do that?

Coelho: I have a few weeks ago I asked my publisher if he all of my e-books can be downloaded progressively to 99 cents, but the alchemist, he did it for three weeks because there is no distribution and no printing costs for e-books. there. Then we have stopped the promotion. What has happened? The 99-cent books have pulled the alchemists. He climbed the New York Times bestseller list from, I do not know, 39 on the 7th Place up. For me this means: If you’re not stingy, your application will be rewarded.

“If you are a victim of piracy, then it is an honor, a medal!”

Zeit Online: This only works with successful authors. What is writing to all the little writers, important books, but have only a small readership? How to survive in this new world?

Coelho: If you start writing or dancing, then you do it with conviction. You do it because you have to do it. I’m Brazilian, I never thought that I could get rich with my books. On the contrary, each time told me that it was impossible. Money comes only after work, that’s for sure. And if you make money, it’s because your whole heart is in your work. And even if you earn no money, what with me for many years was the case, then you’re working on anyway.

Zeit Online: It is in your system, but one problem: If the readers get used to it, e-books to get for 99 cents, they are less and less willing to pay $ 30 for a hardcover. With the 30-dollar sellers but publishers support the other major writers who are economically not so successful.

Coelho: This is what the publishers. But what the authors say?

Zeit Online: The Same?

Coelho: Really? Ask four or five writers, and they say, selling authors are terrible. They are of poor quality, they are stupid, blah, blah, blah. Indeed, with these writers but selling authors would if they brave enough were and say, best-selling authors are great, because I may publish with the money my book, if they would then say: selling authors are great because they touch the hearts of many people, then it would be different. But I know their views on best-seller. And I tell them: Your time is over, ha!

Zeit Online: No sympathy for these authors?

Coelho: Yes. You have an aristocratic opinion of bestsellers. Camus was a bestseller, was a bestseller Baudelaire, Henry Miller was one, and Shakespeare. So if the authors want to publish lamenting with the help of best-sellers, they should only say a few times nice things about bestsellers.

Zeit Online: What do you think of piracy? Bestseller books are often illegally copied and distributed. Many fear: If people get used to it, they eventually pay nothing for books.

Coelho: Yes, there is a risk. But after I put down my price to 99 cents, there was no more piracy. Only I did not say that piracy is bad! The ultimate goal of my life is to be read. And if it is piracy, then they are just there, in front of you may have no fear. Honestly, if you are a victim of piracy, then it is an honor, a medal! Pirate copy but only illegal books that people really want to read. When I walk through the streets of India, a child can see the smallest bookstore in the world, has only ten tracks, and two of which are pirated copies of my books, I’m proud! I am so proud, because that means that these are all people who want to read me. When I was in Lima, I have all my books in pirated editions discovered. I was happy and wanted to talk to the boy who sold them. But when I told him that I was the author, he ran away. He thought that I would complain terribly. But I did not complain. I wanted to thank him.

Zeit Online: If you find piracy not so bad – what do you think it over intellectual property ?

Coelho: Copyright is a creation of the business world, not the authors. It protects the business and not copyright. My idea is the idea of ​​sharing. Meister Eckhart, the German mystic, said, belongs to the parts of human beings. If you are not sharing, then you do not exist too. Now we share this interview via Skype. I see you, you see me. It costs nothing for you, and it costs nothing for me. Is not that wonderful?

Zeit Online: The advantage of Skype is that we can look into your office. What’s that picture on the wall behind you?

Coelho: It is the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a subject of my first book. My wife painted it, and now it hangs in my office. Actually I was supposed to have a large bookcase crammed impressive as the old intelligentsia, to show how cultured I am. I’m very cultured, but I do not have to show people. Simplicity is the new thing, the Internet is simplicity. So I think that the classic intellectual is dead. He is replaced by the “internetual,” the Internetuellen.

Zeit Online: And what role does this new character?

Coelho: The Internetuelle will change the style of writing. It will be much straighter without hollow. It will be much more directly, without being superficial. You just need to tell and to penetrate to the heart of the matter. The imagination of the reader keeps alive. The revolution is still this: Today you have several ways to express as a writer for you. You can write 140 characters on Twitter or five paragraphs on the blog, or you can put out a book. I see a future in which “the title of” writer is no longer reserved for people who write books. We have a very wide range of possibilities.

Zeit Online: So you would see your blog entries as part of literature as art?

Coelho: Of course! And my tweets too.

Google translation from an article “Twittern ist Kunst” in Zeit Online.

Copyright and patents are for the protection of intellectual property rights of the individual but in reality protect the monopolies of Big Business. It is Big Business that complains the loudest about sharing, not creative artists.

Writers want to be read, musicians heard.

Sites like bandcamp encourage sharing, make sharing easy.

E-books have what is in essence zero costs. There is also an infinite store. No matter how many are downloaded or sold, there are still more in the store, the store does not run out of stock.

A Conversation With Paulo Coelho

June 30, 2012
A conversation with Paulo Coelho

A conversation with Paulo Coelho

As Lady Gaga says: Hello little monsters. — Paulo Coelho

James Joyce is such a boring writer. — Paulo Coelho

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. — 2 Peter 3:8

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho in live video conference.

I recently posted an interview Paulo Coelho did with DLT about making use of social media.

There are those who know how to make use of social media and those who do not. Paulo Coelho has taken it into a whole new dimension with a live video conference with over 600 participants. A few minutes in and it was at 678.

The previous day I listened to a dramatisation of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Much reappeared in the conversation with Paulo Coelho.

I was so busy posting on the net that Paulo Coelho was on live, that I was caught completely unawares when Paulo Coelho was talking to me.

What is your question Keith? I had no question. I commented on Christina’s painting in the background.

People were meant to post a question. I assume Paulo saw someone he knew.

I was busy with all the controls. Along the bottom tiny thumbnails of a sample of the people in the video conference. Some were who I knew.

What is the problem in failing? We all fail. Better to have failed than to have never tried. Failing is part of life. It is through failing we learn.

Aleph is an account of a journey in 2006 on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Advice on writing: Start writing. As Imogen Heap said in a recent webcast the artist’s best friend is procrastination. If you delay, you are not following your dreams.

Paulo Coelho started writing when he was 40. That was his dream. He had no idea if it would be a success.

Most important thing is to start. Second is to share. It is not just about writing, it is sharing your soul.

Economic crisis is paranoia, it is easy to spread panic. Fear is the most powerful tool to control our minds.

Nearly twenty years ago Paulo Coelho made the mistake of selling the film rights to The Alchemist. A book that has now sold over 65 million copies. Once you sell the rights, you lose control.

Thoughts on young people: Am I at 64 in a position to comment? There is a lack of values. Less adventurous. Lack of creativity.

A personal legend is a term from alchemy, your mission in life. Who am I? What am a doing here? God will help you follow the right path in life.

You may not be writing a biography, but your writing will be biographical, it will draw on your life experience.

We are surrounded by symbols.

Inspired by interacting with people on internet, reading, walking in the woods, archery.

Archery is a method of meditation.

Inspiration for writing Aleph: Journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Aleph is a point in space and time.

Aleph not an easy book to write. How can you explain a moment that explains all moments?

Talking to Monica, she suggested writing about the experience on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Then one week later, saw how to explain Aleph. Explain in a way that others could understand.

Aleph No 1 in Brazil. An international best seller. A surprise!

Very proud to be published [in US] by Knopf.

The Alchemist was first contact with Islamic culture. Travelled from Tarifa in Spain from where you can see Africa.

Is modern literature going into decline like music?

Music is not dying. The major record labels are dying, who do not realise there has been a paradigm shift.

Earlier in the day I signed two young lads to a record label. I explained to them it was more important to be on twitter than be on a record label.

I gave three examples of people who know how to use social media: Paulo Coelho, Steve Lawson and Imogen Heap.

Writers are not making use of social media to communicate with their readers.

Who is going to read Ulysses by James Joyce?

Three weeks ago BBC Radio 4 dramatised Ulysses. A five and a half dramatisation to coincide with Bloomsday. There was discussions on Ulysses. Academics for who it was their subject matter admitted it was incomprehensible.

If the role of a writer is to communicate, how can James Joyce be considered a great writer? It is claimed he is influential. Influenced who?

Aleph is about reincarnation. A problem in the Catholic Church.

Put in a mental institution. Arrested by paramilitaries, tortured. Paranoid. Time heals. Don’t let the person who hurts you destroy you.

In writing a book, have an ending in mind, and a beginning, the question is how to get to one from the other. The Alchemist is taken from a short story in the Arabian Nights. Aleph is known as it is what happened on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Pilgrimage is also autobiographical.

The writer has to create what happens between the beginning and the end.

As a writer you are on a journey and it is the journey is what counts. A new book is a new journey.

A gardener takes care of the plants but depends on many things out of his control.

New book, Manuscrito encontrado em Accra, published in Brazil in one month, rest of the world end of this year and early next year.

Draw on all your senses including sixth sense. Intuition.

Mystery. There are things we cannot define, but we recognise when we see or experience, for example love. We cannot explain love, but we can experience love.

In Zen and the Art of Maintenance, Phaedrus cannot define quality, but we all recognise quality. Eventually it drives him insane.

Aleph is a point that contains every single point. You can experience, how can you explain?

Deja vu, synchronicity?

Time is a mystery, time is elastic.

When I am with my lovely friend Lena, time stands still. We were in a restaurant having a drink. The staff came to us at midnight, said goodnight, and left us a candle. I noticed it was very quiet. I asked Lena what time did she think it was? It was gone 2am in the early hours of the morning.

What books are you reading? Currently reading In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Hitler’s ascent to power. No one saw or understood what was happening.

Peace is state of mind, We have to fight injustice. Read Bhagavad Gita

A trending topic with over 25,000 visits….

A conversation with Paulo Coelho trending ...

A conversation with Paulo Coelho trending …

In search of my island

May 24, 2012

When I wrote The Zahir, the main character says: writing is getting lost at sea. It’s discovering your own untold story and trying to share it with others. It’s realizing, when you show it to people you have never seen, what is in your own soul. In the book, a famous writer on spiritual matters, who believes he has everything, loses the thing that is most precious to him: love. I have always wondered what would happen to a man if he had no one to dream about, and now I am answering that question for myself.

When I used to read biographies of writers, I always thought that when they said: “The book writes itself, the writer is just the typist”, they were simply trying to make their profession seem more interesting. I know now that this is absolutely true, no one knows why the current took them to that particular island and not to the one they wanted to reach. Then the obsessive re-drafting and editing begins, and when I can no longer bear to re-read the same words one more time, I send it to my publisher, where it is edited again, and then published.

And it is a constant source of surprise to me to discover that other people were also in search of that very island and that they find it in my book. One person tells another person about it, the mysterious chain grows, and what the writer thought of as a solitary exercise becomes a bridge, a boat, a means by which souls can travel and communicate.

From then on, I am no longer the man lost in the storm: I find myself through my readers, I understand what I wrote when I see that others understand it too, but never before. On a few rare occasions, like the one that is about to take place, I manage to look those people in the eye and then I understand that my soul is not alone.

Once I heard an interviewer ask Paul McCartney: “Could you sum up the Beatles’ message in one sentence?” Tired of hearing the same question myself, I assumed McCartney would give some ironic response, after all, given the complexity of human beings, how can anyone possibly sum up a whole body of work in a few words?

But Paul said: “Yes, I can.” And he went on: “All you need is love. Do you want me to say more?”

No, said the interviewer, he didn’t. There was nothing more to be said. The Zahir could be summed up in the same way.

— Paulo Coelho

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Writers write because they love to write, musicians because they love to play music.

It is something my lovely Russian friend Lena and I discussed as we sat on a beach by the sea, me getting burnt.

I have just finished reading The Eight. A gift from Lainee which I will now gift to Lena.

I am now reading The Zahir. I desired to read The Zahir and there was The Zahir waiting for me to pick it up.

My first encounter with Paulo Coelho was a lovely Lithuanian girl sat by a river reading The Zahir.

Montegrappa launch The Alchemist pen

March 21, 2012
Montegrappa Alchemist launch - Montegrappa/Susan Kime

Montegrappa Alchemist launch - Montegrappa/Susan Kime

Montegrappa The Alchemist

Montegrappa The Alchemist

Montegrappa The Alchemist - Montegrappa

Montegrappa The Alchemist - Montegrappa

I acknowledge the immense power of the pen. It is with the pen and the written word that I have been able to give life to my thoughts. Montegrappa has forged the most beautiful writing instruments in the world. — Paulo Coelho

Montegrappa’s exclusive creation celebrating Paulo Coelho’s best seller, The Alchemist.

The collection was officially launched in Bassano del Grappa on St Joseph’s Day 19 March 2012. VIP guests from all over the world joined the launch and then attended Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party that was held in the Castello Superiore di Marostica that evening.

We were there as guests of Paulo Coelho.

We arrived as the launch started at 3am, dripping wet as it was pouring with rain. We squeezed in at the back.

The launch was the first time Paulo Coelho had seen the pen. Montegrappa would not let him have a pen before the launch just in case he was tempted to show it to anyone.

A man talked about alchemy, but went on and on and was eventually cut off by Montegrappa. Strange we thought as the expert on alchemy was Paulo Coelho.

The pen is heavy with symbolism. A work of art and a delight to look at.

The cap and barrel represent circles or spheres, which stand for the seven alchemical processes. The chain of elements links the Sun with gold, the Moon with silver, Mercury with quicksilver, Venus with copper, Mars with iron, Jupiter with tin and Saturn with lead. They are represented through sculptural representations, with engraved symbols and ancient names.

The Alchemist pen is a limited edition of less than 2,000.

The Alchemist Pen will be issued in an edition of 1,987 fountain pens and roller balls in total, in honor of the year (1987) The Alchemist was originally published. The series will consist of 71 in solid gold (38 fountain pens and 33 roller balls), for the 71 languages into which it has been translated. Nine hundred pens will be offered in resin and sterling silver (450 fountain pens and 450 roller balls) to represent the number of copies in the first edition print run.

One thousand more pens will be produced in sterling silver with accents in translucent enamel. There will be four colors of enamel, representing the four elements: air, fire, earth and water. Only 125 fountain pens and 125 roller balls will be made in each color. Lastly, 16 pens (eight fountain pens and eight roller balls) will be produced in gold with diamond enhancements, the precious gems described in the Alchemist’s journey.

The launch was followed by a factory tour, many of the workers had books signed by Paulo Coelho sitting at their side.

In the evening a St Joseph’s Day Party at a Venetian Medieval Castle.

Montegrappa expected maybe a hundred people to turn up for the launch. By their estimate, over three hundred!

The Alchemist limited edition pen is destined to become the world’s most sought after and desired pen.

A Montegrappa pen is slow fashion, a quality handmade writing instrument that you value for life.

For Montegrappa the day also had another significance, they were celebrating 100 years of Monetegrappa, 1912-2012.

Montegrappa CEO Giuseppe Aquila on the Rich History of his Family Business
Launch of Montegrappa The Alchemist pen

Top Story in the Daily Soul (Tuesday 22 May 2012).

Paulo Coelho: How I Write

February 16, 2012
Paulo Coelho - Philip Volsem

Paulo Coelho - Philip Volsem

Paulo Coelho has long been one of my writing inspirations.

His work, of near universal appeal, spans from The Alchemist to the most recent Aleph and has been translated into more than 70 languages.

Few people know that The Alchemist, which has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide, was originally published by a small Brazilian publisher to the tune of… 900 copies. They declined to reprint it. It wasn’t until after his subsequent novel (Brida) that The Alchemist was revived and took off.

I, for one, have always been impressed with consistent writers. Paulo, who averages one book every two years, is staggeringly consistent. As I type this, I am under the pressure of book deadlines and often feel as Kurt Vonnegut did: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

My output is erratic at best, and I wondered: how does Paulo write? What is his process? How does he think about it?

I reached out to him, and he was kind enough to reply with the attached/linked audio. In it, he provides some gems and answers the following questions, which I posed to him (I provide my own abbreviated answers in brackets):

When on deadline, what is the first thing you do in the morning? What does your daily schedule look like? Do you take any days off, and what determines if you’ve had a “successful” writing day?

[TIM: 2-3 hours of fasted writing in the morning to Mozart and pu-ehr tea. Success is two shitty pages of drafts.]

How do you capture ideas that might be helpful in your writing? These days, what software and tools do you use for writing?

[TIM: Evernote, Moleskine notebooks]

How much of your books do you visualize/outline upfront vs. writing organically piece-by-piece? In other words, how much of the story arc have you decided before you start writing? Let’s take two books as examples — The Alchemist and Aleph. Otherwise, how did your process differ for these two books?

[TIM: Though it changes as I write, I outline everything before starting. I suspect organic writing is more common in fiction.]

What are the most common mistakes that you see first-time novelists making? Most common weaknesses?


Do you base your characters on real people? Why or why not? If not, how do you develop those characters?


What are the 2-3 things you personally find most invigorating or helpful when you’re stuck or feel stagnated with writing/ideas? Do you have a team of any type (researchers, etc.) who help you?

[TIM: Rereading Bird by Bird when I doubt/loathe/chastise myself, deadlifting, and doing sprint workouts.]

Paulo Coelho talking to Tim Ferriss on soundcloud

Paulo Coelho in interview with Tim Ferriss.

Paulo offered a few additional notes and resources further exploration:

As for the sentence in Alice in Wonderland: “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Paulo Coelho discussing his writing process:

Paulo Coelho on writing IV

January 23, 2012

Paulo Coelho talking about writing using Aleph as an example.

We have a book, in our soul, in our head, how do we get it into a book that we can share with others to read?

Writing a book is hard work, it requires dsicipline, but once we start, we find it easy.

The book is then published. It is a free agent.

Will readers like it, will bookshops stock it, will reviewers use the platform of a review to launch a vicious personal attack on the author?

Last year, Aleph shot to No1 in all countries of publication within days of release. The one noticeable exception was the UK where Waterstone’s bookshop chain for whatever perverse reason refused to put Aleph on display and so the passing reader was not aware of its existence.

Top Story Ask the English Teacher Daily (Monday 23 January 2011).

Paulo Coelho on writing I
Paulo Coelho on writing III

Paulo Coelho on writing III

January 16, 2012
boat on the sea - Ken Crane

boat on the sea - Ken Crane

boat on the sea - Ken Crane

boat on the sea - Ken Crane

If you enjoy what you are doing you are going to be inspired to share with other people. — Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho talking about writing using Aleph as an example.

When we write we let inspiration guide us. If we try to guide inspiration we write mechanically, as though we have been to writing school. Maybe ok to write a technical manual, but produces bad writing, no flow, lacks a soul.

Hildegard von Bingen when she wrote her beautiful, haunting music said she was ‘a feather on the breath of God’.

When Handel wrote the Messiah, he thought he was being inspired by angels. On completing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ Handel is reported to have exclaimed ‘I think I did see all Heaven open before me and the great God Himself.’

Illustrations by Ken Crane.

Paulo Coelho on writing I
Paulo Coelho on writing II
Paulo Coelho on writing IV

Paulo Coelho on writing II

January 9, 2012

I knew I had a book in my soul. Like any writer, I have many books in my soul. — Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho talking about writing using Aleph as an example.

You have a story in your soul. You have to choose a subject and share it with your readers. Aleph is many things, it is a crisis of faith, it is a journey, a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway. You share that journey by taking your readers with you on the journey.

When a book is ready to be written, it is there in your head. It is waiting to be written.

Paulo Coelho on writing I
Paulo Coelho on writing III

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