The Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Receive

Woman writing painting

Draft, rewrite, and edit,

Then rewrite and rewrite,

And edit!

Toil, writer, toil!

Your work is not done until your brow is sweaty

And your hand shaky

And your inkpot empty.

Read, rewrite, and edit,

Then rewrite and rewrite,

And edit!

Toil, writer, toil!

For

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
Samuel Johnson

Do You Agree?

(Slightly edited January 2014.)

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20 thoughts on “The Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Receive

  1. If you practised your writing A LOT before attempting to write a poem/story/novel, I wonder if you can write effortlessly but still have a great work of writing?

    1. I think it gets easier with time, Daniel. But I think the challenge of writing is in the struggle. The more you struggle, the more you end up enjoying it. Most of the time, that is. 🙂

  2. It is amazing how much that is true. I usually write the first draft in my head, then the second in my mind and finally a draft on the internet. Then I erase what I am not happy with and go to the drawing board where I draw up another draft. I have so many drafts that I could catch the flu.

  3. The hardest part about writing is putting in the needed time between the first round of drafts and the second (and third and fourth and fifth…) before publishing it. Every time I go back and read something I’ve written in the past–no matter how many drafts there were–I *always* see something I would change…

    That’s when I want to throw myself out the window!

    1. If you jumped, you wouldn’t get hurt, would you Jessica? Haven’t you fallen from greater heights? Or perchance you should jump anyway. Maybe someone will catch you.

  4. I really like that quote.
    For me, I try to write, whenever I think of something, straight on the blog. With me, ideas are fleeting and if I don’t finish what I want to write, there is a big chance I’ll never finish it. So it doesn’t matter if I’m thinking on paper or on the computer, I have to write the whole thing and then I proof-read it once or twice but then publish it without mulling over it for very long.
    You?

      1. You aren’t wrong if you have that impression of me, Vincent. 😉

        Go with the flow. Live in the present. Don’t think about the what-ifs. Live on impulse. Don’t judge others. Express your gratitude. Apologize – Are some things I keep reminding myself of time and again.

        What about you? Do you have some rules you like to live by? Are you impulsive?

  5. I think it’s very true. A lot of my writing begins as banging-my-head-on-the-table-god-awful! Write, edit, re-write, leave it awhile and let it cook somewhere in your brain without even thinking consciously about it. Eventually it grows into something I’m not embarrassed to have other people read.

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