Tag Archive - C. S. Lewis

Fast-Writing Secrets of C. S. Lewis

Today’s guest post is by Jim Denney.

C. S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, wrote 14 novels, at least 22 nonfiction books, several essay collections, and enough letters to fill many volumes. And he wrote them all in longhand with a steel-nibbed pen that he dipped in a bottle of ink.

Lewis had a rhythm as he wrote. He’d write six or seven words, whispering the words aloud as he wrote. Then he’d dip the pen in the ink—mentally composing the next phrase as he did so—and he’d write and whisper six or seven more words. Though Lewis used a dip-pen, a relic of the nineteenth century, he was an amazingly productive writer. Whenever he sat down to write—which he did almost daily—he wrote confidently, intuitively, and with astonishing speed.

In August 1932, C. S. Lewis wrote an entire draft of his debut novel—roughly 60,000 words—in just two weeks. It happened during a visit with his boyhood friend, Arthur Greeves, in Belfast. Lewis hadn’t planned to write during his stay, but somehow, amid the afternoon walks and late-night talks with Arthur, Lewis became inspired—and he wrote a novel. That novel, The Pilgrim’s Regress, was published in May 1933, nine months after he composed the first draft.

Throughout his career, Lewis wrote most of his novels in just two or three months. The key to his amazing speed is what I call “writing in overdrive,” the ability to write intuitively and without inhibition under the influence of unconscious inspiration. Here’s the good news: you can learn to write as Lewis did. Continue Reading…