CS Lewis on Writing

Last week I was down in Illinois and visited the Wade Center at Wheaton College. Besides dodging all the heresy flying around there, I got to see some things that belonged to CS Lewis (his desk and wardrobe), JRR Tolkien (his desk), Dorothy Sayers, and George McDonald. It was interesting and very scholarly and smart-looking.

C S Lewis' desk where he wrote everything with a pen
C S Lewis’ desk where he wrote everything with a pen

It was cool to think of these guys sitting at their desks writing their impressive works. Inspiring for writing. I came across a couple of sites when I got home about Lewis.

Here is a list of 15 things Lewis said about being a good writer. A few bits of his wisdom:

“Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.”

“Be sure you know the meaning (or meanings) of every word you use.”

“Read all the good books you can, and avoid nearly all magazines.”

I also found out that Lewis never knew how to type. Apparently he only had one joint in each thumb, which prevented him from using a keyboard properly. But he also thought typing was too distracting and noisy. He wrote everything with a pen, the vast majority with a fountain pen that had to be dipped in an inkwell every five words or so. Here is more on his non-typing style.


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