10 Writing Tips From Great Authors

The Writer Illustration art print by Tang Yau Hoong
The Writer Illustration art print by Tang Yau Hoong

1

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.” – Ernest Hemingway

2

“Write what should not be forgotten.” – Isabel Allende

3

“Don’t say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers Please will you do the job for me.” – C.S. Lewis

4

“People say to write about what you know. I’m here to tell you, no one wants to read that, cos you don’t know anything. So write about something you don’t know. And don’t be scared, ever.” – Toni Morrison

5

Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards. – Henry Miller

6

“There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error.” – William Faulkner

7

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time – or the tools – to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King

8

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself… It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” – Harper Lee

9

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

10

“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.” – Mark Twain

***

Which is your favorite tip?

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33 thoughts on “10 Writing Tips From Great Authors

  1. Don’t forget this as well: You can teach someone to write, but you cannot teach creativity or the ability to put heart into word and song. (it is advice I would give if I were asked)

  2. “Don’t say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we’ve read the description. . .” C.S. Lewis doesn’t cut us any slack—love the tough love;)
    Great list.

  3. One of my favorites is what ―Neil Gaiman― said:
    “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
    http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2011/12/my-new-year-wish.html

  4. So true! I write about things I know nothing of all the time. I love to make stuff up that’s why I’m a writer. And nothing kills creativity like self-doubt.
    Great list!

  5. No 1 is my favorite. It is what I believe in. A good writer should have a good or even an enough understanding of what he/she writes about or critique. Otherwise, their writing will be a mere mess.

  6. “Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself… It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” – Harper Lee . Thank you boy with a hat, great list.

  7. “The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.” This resonates with me so much. We are our own worst critics. We’ve got to push past that if we want to get anywhere at all.

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