Writing success comes down to hard work, imagination, more hard work, passion – and then more hard work. Even if you are an absolutely fantastic writer who will be remembered for years to come, you will still most likely receive a good amount of criticism, rejection, and possibly ridicule before you get there. It happens to everyone, no matter whom they are, and should come as no real surprise. These writers, having been through it all, offer us some writing tips without pulling punches.
- I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee
- A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? . — George Orwell
- Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. ― Kurt Vonnegut
- In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it. — Rose Tremain
- You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking its good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. — Octavia Butler
- You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London
- Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution. — Michael Moorcock
- Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one was not driven on by some demon that one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell
- There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham
- If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. – Stephen King
- The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’” — Helen Simpson
- Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.– Anton Chekhov
- 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. – Neil Gaiman
- The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.— Neil Gaiman
- If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. – William Zinsser
- Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly. – Joshua Wolf Shenk
- 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
- The first draft of everything is shit. -Ernest Hemingway
- Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman
- You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ― Ray Bradbury
- Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously. – Lev Grossman
Even famous authors on occasion have a tough time, and often go through periods of self-doubt. So take a lesson from them and never give up. Don’t put off your writing plans. There has never been a better time than now to realize your dream of becoming a published author. Tell your story and let your voice be heard!
- How often do you use the word “very” in your writing? It is often extremely overused and can make your sentences sound weak. So check out this site. It gives you 128 ways to avoid using this word by replacing it with stronger more vibrant ones.
- Need some help with your grammar? Take the following quiz and find out how much you know.
- Book titles, blog headings, or other articles are sometimes difficult to come by. You might need a little help occasionally. Here are 7 tools to provide that help.
- Do you love the television show “Game of Thrones” or the books? Here are 5 lessons to be learned from them.
- Do you know how to research a novel, and when to stop? This article could be helpful.
- Tips for finding those eye-catching images for your books, articles, or blogs.
Which ones are your favorites?
If these were helpful to you, please pass them on!
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Do they just appear out of nowhere and land in your lap when you least expect it? Probably not very likely. Certainly some authors have wonderfully vivid imaginations, but others are often people who are simply good at making observations and interpreting them into amazing storytelling. Their characters can even be based on someone they know in real life. Some writers have so many ideas in their heads that it’s hard to know which one to go for. There are an abundance of sources for inspiration. Here are a few –
- Mark Twain based his character Huckleberry Finn on a childhood friend.
“In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was
ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy
had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent
person—boy or man—in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly
and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us.”
- John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” is a commentary on social injustice and the forces behind poverty and oppression.
“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this
[the Great Depression and its effects].” – John Steinbeck
- The world of dreams is a magical place where writers often get answers and inspirational ideas. Dreams have been a source for my creative ideas for years. Many times I have been awakened with an unusual idea and have written it down on anything I can find so that it won’t be lost. Other times I remember vividly the entire thing when I wake up, and a book is spawned right then and there. Generally some changes ensue, but a dream was where it all started.
- You might find inspiration from a snippet of interesting conversation you’ve heard recently, or a dialogue from a movie might spark something in your brain that’s worth creating a story about.
- You might get some great ideas from going on a nature walk, watching the night sky, or looking at a magazine or reading a human interest story.
- Traveling around the world or taking a day trip to the next town and discovering new places and people can make you see new things and spark thoughts for a story line.
- If you have children or just watch and listen to children, it can change the way you view the world when you see through their eyes.
Ideas are free. Just about anything we experience, see, hear or read can spark an idea. We just need to be aware and observant – most writers excel at this.
What or where is the most unexpected place you’ve found a writing idea?