In these days of social media, it seems that new and wannabe writers often look to other newbie writers for advice and direction. This behaviour always seemed odd to me. In most other fields, people would look to those who have mastered their craft.
Over the years, I’ve often looked to the great writers for their best advice for writing and the writer’s life. The truth is that not all of their advice is applicable, but there is much to be learned from what they have to say.
This week, I have five tips from five great writers.
- Always stay a student to your craft. If you ever feel as if you’ve mastered writing and fail to focus on ways to continually improve, you are fooling yourself―but you won’t fool the readers.
- “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway
- Never fool yourself into thinking that your contribution (or potential contribution) to the world of books and writing is irreplaceable.
- “If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us.”—William Faulkner
- Reading is the lifeblood of writers. If you don’t read―a lot―don’t write. Ever.
- “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”—Samuel Johnson
- If you think writing success is a simple result of knowing the rules for creation, you might as well stop writing now. There are no rules.
- “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”—Doris Lessing
- Write because you have to, not because you care what others will think of you.
- “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.” —Virginia Woolf
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Stephen King
“One day, I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” Robert Frost
And my personal favourite
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”~ Henry David Thoreau Tweet