Who better to offer advice to aspiring writers than famous authors? Here’s some of the greatest quotes for writers, from writers:
“The first draft of everything is shit.”
The point is, don’t obsess about it. Just get that first draft done. You can fix everything in the editing process.
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
Writing is hard. It somehow manages to be rewarding and soul-sucking all at the same time. There are dizzying highs, and abyss-level lows. No one ever said it was going to be easy.
“There are three rules for writing a novel.
What works for some, won’t work for all. Develop your own style and writing voice. Don’t worry about rules.
“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
Evaluate all advice you receive about your writing carefully and objectively with a wide-open mind. Just because someone has a suggestion, doesn’t mean you have to take it. It’s your book. Don’t let anyone overrule what your gut knows to be true.
“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”
Writers write. They don’t ever stop. It’s as simple as that.
“The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.”
Your work will never be perfect. You can’t edit forever. At some point, you’ll have to decide you’ve done your very best and like the song says, Let It Go.
“Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? ‘She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,’ etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home.”
Writing is a solitary exercise. Teamwork isn’t involved. If you can’t work by yourself and take responsibility for your work (mistakes and all), don’t bother writing. And beyond that, you can’t write anything awe-inspiring until you’ve truly lived. No one can truly live while mom and dad are taking care of their every need.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.”
The only way to grow as a writer is to study and read. As such, aspiring writers who don’t enjoy reading are kidding themselves. They’ll never succeed as writers.
Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Keep your writing tight. If a word doesn’t have a purpose, cut it.
“If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favorite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable.”
If something isn’t contributing to the overall story, it has to go, even if it’s your favorite scene or line.
What about all of you writers out there? Any pearls of wisdom you’d like to share? Drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!
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