Paulo Coelho’s Advice For First Time Novelists

Whether you’re a part-time blogger, writer for a newspaper, or novelist – Tim Ferris had an interview with Paulo in his book ‘Tools of Titans’ that could prove very useful for a lot of people.

Right now, I’m writing my book called “Overcoming The Odds,” which will be about being a colored teacher in a very anti-color society such as Thailand.  But, to be honest, I’ve hit a lot of road blocks with even getting the introduction down.  Then I realized, “how about I write about the freshest memories in mind first and put it all together in the end?”


Bob’s your uncle!

See, what this does is create a lot of momentum.  If you see yourself getting stuck relentlessly in just the beginning, write in the others areas before coming back.  At that time it will be much less difficult.

Here’s a nice excerpt from the book that Paulo talked about in terms of helping the writers out there.

* What are the most common mistakes or weaknesses of first-time novelists?
“Keep it simple. Trust your reader. He or she has a lot of imagination. Don’t try to describe things. Give a hint, and they will fulfill this hint with their own imagination. That’s why I am so reluctant to sell the rights of my books for movies because there, you have everything. The [viewer] does not need to think. However, if I say like in Aleph, at the very beginning, ‘I am in my house in the Pyrenees, and there is an oak there.’ I don’t need to explain my house in the Pyrenees. I only needed to put in the elements that are important: the oak, myself, and the person that I’m talking to. That’s all. . . . Trust your reader. Understand that he or she can fill the empty spaces. Don’t over-explain.”

* How do you capture ideas that might help your writing?
“I strongly encourage writers not to think about writing every time they do something. Forget notebooks. Forget taking notes. Let what is important remain. What’s not important goes away. When you sit down to write, there is this process of purging, this process of cleansing, where only the important things remain. It’s much easier than taking notes and overloading yourself with information.”

* What do you find helpful when you are stuck or stagnated?
“There is only one thing. When I feel stagnated, I promise myself that [even] if I don’t feel inspired, I need to move forward. I need to have discipline. . . . In the middle of a book, there I am: I don’t know how to continue the story, even if it’s a nonfiction story. But then, I say, ‘You, book, are fighting with me. Okay. I’m going to sit here, and I’m not going to leave you alone until I find my way out of this crossroads.’ It may take 10 minutes. It may take 10 hours. But if you don’t have enough discipline, you don’t move forward. . . .”

Excerpt From: Timothy Ferriss & Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Tools of Titans.”

By the way, in the Alchemist, I remember the little boy saying to the alchemist, “look, I have a lot of livestock, I have love among many other things.”

The alchemist said, “but those aren’t the pyramids.”

Keep your eye on the grand prize!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: