"When things go wrong, don’t
go with them."
Here is a collection of comments made by published authors to aspiring writers. Mm ... it's very interesting. I've highlighted the major points. You will notice one consistent comment - DON'T GIVE UP!
Great Advice from Authors
* Read everything you can get your hands on. Be kind to your English teachers --- they know more than you realize (the good ones). Please don't be one of those people who just talk about being a writer... BE a writer. Write something! And never give up --- never, never, never, never.
* My advice to aspiring writers is to write as much as you can as regularly as you can --- every day, ideally. Don't wait for the mood or the muse to strike, just write. Write because you want to write rather than because you want to be a writer. Be original or don't bother.
* I would advise anyone to write as they speak, and on the subjects that they know about.
* Don't let anybody discourage you!
* Read lots and write often. And, truly, savor the process of writing. I had amassed over 250 rejections before I sold my first short story (to Cosmopolitan) when I was 24, so it's important to enjoy those moments when you are, literally, crafting sentences.
* Don't quit the day job! I gave a talk at Maui this year on ten things every writer should know: Read. Read. Read. Outline. Outline. Outline. Write. Write.Write. Repeat. That's it!
* Write. But seriously --- 1) get some reporting experience early on. There is no better training. 2) Read Orwell's Politics and the English Language. 3) As my writing professor, the great William Zinsser, used to tell us, "Be grateful for every word you can cut."
* Write, write, write! Read, read, read! Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite! Share it with a few people you trust, who can give feedback you'll respect. Send it out. Don't be afraid of rejection. Everyone gets rejected and will be rejected throughout their lives at one time or another. Do it because you must, because you want to, need to, couldn't live with yourself otherwise. If you do it for the fame and glory, you may fall hard on your face.
* Keep writing. Join a writer's group or writing class. If you have something that you can send out, try to get an agent. Go to the library and look up in Literary Market Place the list of agents, and send out letters to agents. The most important thing is to keep writing.
* Write everyday, even if only for a few minutes. To even accomplish a few minutes of writing you have to think about the story and the characters. Writing everyday keeps them fresh in your mind. When they are in your mind you are constantly working the story. A lot of writing takes place away from the computer or the pad and pencil. This little trick keeps that creative process going.
* Write about what obsesses you.
* There are only two rules I'd give to aspiring writers: one, write what you enjoy reading and, two, never, ever, ever give up; rejection is a speed bump, not a brick wall.
* I'm not sure I would presume to give advice, but here are some things I tell myself: If writing is important to you, you must be prepared to work hard at it, and simplify your life so that you can give your art the time and energy it requires. Read widely, practice for long hours. Like a potter, you must be willing to throw away misshaped pieces. You must be willing to take risks, try new forms, grow with each thing you write. You must try to tell the truth as best you are able.
* Don't outline your stories. DO NOT outline your stories. I know some writers do this, but I think the writing process asks us to surrender to the mysteries of the unknown. Nowhere in our culture is this taught. You have to trust your gut, trust your characters to take a story where it's going to go; and, more often than not, it does that. That's my two cents.
* Read the best books and write as often as you possibly can. And be respectful of your work. Give it your best shot.
* Don't give up. It's not a hobby. You can't be a weekend dabbler. You have to commit. If you can, take a few months off from your job. Writing is not a part-time occupation. And remember that publishing a book is not just writing --- you have to promote the book, read the contracts.
* Write every day. Find the hours that suit you. Sit there until something comes. Don't judge what you write that day --- you can do that tomorrow. And if nothing comes, you can edit what you did before. One more thing....your agent does NOT know more than you do, and neither does your editor. I listen to advice, but I don't always follow it.
* Read everything, especially the classics and poetry. Eavesdrop on real conversations. Don't watch too much TV, nobody talks like TV people do. Don't ever be too attached to anything you've written; you are the vehicle for the word, not it's creator. Write what you're obsessed by.
Thanks, guys. Appreciate your comments. - CT
Question: have you got any good advice for emerging / aspiring writers?
I'm Clancy Tucker.
Paris Holocaust Memorial.