10 Writing Tips from Paulo Coelho

Best-selling author Paulo Coelho’s YouTube channel, Coehlo’s Office, offers a series of short videos explaining how he writes metaphysical novels based on his experience creating Aleph, a deeply personal novel about faith. Following are ten writing tips based on those videos.

Signs – Trust that you receive signs from a higher power, and learn to read those highly individual signs.They can guide your writing and inspire you. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

Inspiration – Inspiration comes from love. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you will be inspired to share it with others. It cannot be forced; you must allow yourself to be guided by it.

Confidence – You cannot sell your next book by underrating your book that was just published. Be proud of what you have.

Trust – Trust your reader, don’t try to describe things. Give a hint and they will fulfill this hint with their own imagination.

Experience – You cannot take something out of nothing. When you write a book, use your experience.

Critics – Some writers want to please their peers, they want to be “recognized”. This shows insecurity and nothing else, please forget about this. You should care to share your soul and not to please other writers.

Notetaking – If you want to capture ideas, you are lost. You are going to be detached from emotions and forget to live your life. You will be an observer and not a human being living his or her life. Forget taking notes, what important remains what is not important goes away.

Research – If you overload your book with a lot of research, you are going to be very boring to yourself and to your reader. Books are not there to show how intelligent you are. Books are there to show your soul.

Writing – I write the book that wants to be written. Behind the first sentence is a thread that takes you to the last.

Style – Don’t try to innovate storytelling, tell a good story and it is magical. I see people trying to work so much in style, finding different ways to tell the same thing. It’s like fashion. Style is the dress, but the dress does not dictate what is inside the dress.

Many of these tips were collated by Jerome Ibuyan, with a hat tip to Aerogramme Writers’ Studio. You can follow Jerome on Twitter @Jerome_Ibuyan.


6 thoughts on “10 Writing Tips from Paulo Coelho

  1. I was surprised by what you stated about note-taking and research. I’ve heard just the opposite from numerous authors. Don’t get me wrong; I like you way of thinking. Often, when I have written notes during the course of a day, when I look at them later they don’t make as much sense as they did when I wrote them down. They’re basically useless to me. As for research, I do think some is necessary in certain incidences but overall for a fictional story, I think some writer do go way overboard with it.

    • Keep in mind this is what Paolo Coelho says about note-taking and research! I’m somewhere in between. I’ve had the most luck when I take notes and then use them as a springboard, rather than an outline.

  2. I really love what this says about research. I do a little, but don’t like to get bogged down in it, and so much of my stories take place in the future so research doesn’t apply. I think good historical fiction requires good research, but not speculative, mystical, visionary fiction.
    And, i so agree, about writing the book that wants to be written. The first sentence did lead me to the last in ways I never could have predicted.
    By the way, I would like to submit my visionary fiction novel to you for review. Do I send you a pdf of the manuscript, or mail you a real copy?
    Here is a link to it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17946659-i-call-myself-earth-girl

  3. Pingback: Book review: Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho | Fiction for a New Age

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