Harlan Ellison

You Don’t Need a Decoder Ring or Special Undies to Write

A writing legend Harlan Ellison died last summer. Ellison wrote in just about every genre but known for his Sci-Fi and speculative fiction stories. He also produced work on about every platform possible (novels, short stories, TV, film, and audio).

Ellison was a brash man who had strong opinions about writing and the industry. He also was married five times and maybe not a guy to invite over for Sunday brunch.

Regardless of Ellison’s temperament and multiple failed relationships he offers solid advice for writers. Behind the rough veneer of Ellison he tried to champion the ordinariness of writing. Remove the mythical nature of word slinging and bring it down to the bottom shelf of mere mortals.

Ellison wanted people to know that writing didn’t require super powers or specialized degrees.

In fact, he once said:

…the hard part of writing isn’t becoming a writer, rather, staying a writer.

For all of Ellison’s controversy surrounding his personal life he wanted writers to write. Not only write, but write fast, often, and well.

Ellison was a professional writer for fifty years and made a great living. But what did it take? How did he do it? What insights does he offer us mere mortals?