Blog Archives

13 Pieces of Advice for Writers

A couple of blogs ago, we asked, “Why do writers write?”. During our search for the answer, we accumulated other bits of wisdom from authors past and present. Here’s a sampling of  advice that falls under the “how-to-write” category.

1. There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

2. I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

3. 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. ~Mark Twain

4. Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

5. The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

6. Be obscure clearly. ~E.B. White

7. …a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window. ~Burton Rascoe

8. The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie

9. Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~From the movie Finding Forrester

10. The best style is the style you don’t notice. ~Somerset Maugham

11. I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

12. Don’t get it right, just get it written. ~James Thurber

13. There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ~W. Somerset Maugham

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