15 Writing Tips From Famous Authors


Harper Lee

“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


Somerset Maugham

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ― W. Somerset Maugham


George Orwell

“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 were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell


Robert Frost

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ― Robert Frost


Ray Bradbury

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ― Ray Bradbury


Henry David Thoreau

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.” — Henry David Thoreau


Ernest Hemingway

“The first draft of anything is shit.” ― Ernest Hemingway


Jack London

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ― Jack London


Rose Tremain

“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


Joyce Carol Oates

“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” — Joyce Carol Oates


Charles Baudelaire

“Always be a poet, even in prose.” ― Charles Baudelaire


Elmore Leonard

“Don’t go into great detail describing places and things… You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.” ― Elmore Leonard


Zadie Smith

“Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.” ― Zadie Smith


Anton Chekhov

“My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.” ― Anton Chekhov


Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Which is your favorite tip?

70 thoughts on “15 Writing Tips From Famous Authors

    1. love this post. My favorite quote is “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing else to add, but when there is nothing to take away” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  1. love this post. My favorite quote is “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing else to add, but when there is nothing to take away” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  2. Definitely #6, Thoreau. It happens to me a lot. All these vivid emotions are coursing through my veins and making brilliant words in my brain, but if I don’t write them down soon enough, it never makes it on the paper quite right.

  3. All helpful. Really like number 6 and 15 of course. That seems to be everyone’s favorite 🙂

  4. Since I like to smile and since nr 2 made me smile, I think that one is the best tip! Are there really any good tips when it comes to writing? I just have this feeling that perhaps all this order makes it so much less natural, less emotional, less real. Do you know what I mean…?

  5. Vincent, thanks for posting this, i am partial to #15
    in gratitude for checking out my blog,
    my you dance in full exposure with the voice of words.

  6. Hey Vincent. I thought you might also like these writing tips from the mouth of Kurt Vonnegut. I particularly like no.7

    Anastasia x

    1.Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
    2.Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
    3.Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
    4.Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
    5.Start as close to the end as possible.
    6.Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
    7.Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
    8.Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

      1. I am merely named after the princess Anastasia. Or, to be more precise, I am named after her character
        played by Ingrid Bergmann in the movie! And I have no Russian blood, only Scottish and Irish.
        Have you named yourself after that red planet? 🙂

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